615 Readings

April 26, 2013

The trance continued in which

the saying was exchanging positions,

over and over, with the said.

It was a summons, a shock into

a long and languid responsiveness.


You put the bit in your mouth

so as to listen for the ruined voice

of the least noticeable listener,

for when the inaudible bulges

encouragingly into the audible world.

In a way, your earliest name

was malleable but meaningless,

a biographical bundle never failing

to not arrive. So you had to improvise

a fully realized vestige, some

muffled and bloodshot cues

to be brought on trial. Bound to the sound

of moving water, you had to

straighten your mind into a frayed

and damaged equipoise, to gulp the murmur

of rising distress within the audience.


The hour was valiant; it was

meant to convey, as you

slowly departed, the briefest silver.

A back door opened.

You put your hand on your forehead

and jerked out the needle of light.

[Note: This poem comes from a sequence which grew out of a 2013 National Poetry Month initiative sponsored by the Found Poetry Review. Entitled “Pulitzer Remix,” this online and ephemeral project entailed 85 poets posting new poems every day based on the language of the 85 books which have won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. After volunteering to participate, I was assigned Booth Tarkington’s Alice Adams (1921), a comedic novel of manners set in the Midwest. I proceeded to craft a 30-part long poem, whose words, with no exception, were derived from Tarkington’s book, and all of the 30 sections of this sequence were composed daily throughout the 30 days of April. The sequence became, in essence, a document of my
life as I lived it in April 2013 through the obsessive reading, re-reading, and remixing of a single book, an experiment of what happens when a life makes poetry, at least the writing of it, a priority for 30 continuous days despite all else.

Many of the poems from this sequence (not including this one) are collected in my chapbook Fruits and Flowers and Animals and Seas and Lands Do Open (2015), which was the winner of the 2014 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest: <http://burnsidereview.org/fruits-flowers-animals-seas-land-open/.]
Posted 03/20/15
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