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Author: Corey Oglesby

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In search of other half of a twin situation,

you will have been born May 30, 1970,

around lunchtime. This will have been in New York.

 

You will have been reluctant to leave the womb;

yours was an induced labor.

You may be looking for me. I hope you haven’t given up.

 

I am of a feminine form but my main goal is honesty.

I try to be nice to people and often am because life is hard.

If you are my twin you will know.

 

Physically, I am an ectomorph. My nose was broken and so hooks.

My last little finger (left) is crooked. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall,

hair sometimes light, sometimes mousy, skin fair.

 

My eyes are blue but change in salt water,

where they are green.

I love being near the ocean. If you are my twin, you will know.

 

People call me Ish or Ishmael but that is not what they called me.

I will be an excellent twin.

When we come into contact, I think that your heart

 

will feel good: safe, strong and steady

instead of running away.

I intend to stay with you if we like each other.

 

You can easily find me on the world wide web;

a middle earth contraption that scans brains and shares

information, so be careful!

 

My full name now is Ishmael Klein.

I am a channel

and it’s challenging. Maybe you already know.

 

I love animals and jokes

if they are surprising. I can be useful.

I have a good imagination. Hope to meet you soon.

 

Seriously

and

Respectfully,

from Moving DayFind more by Ish Klein at the library

Copyright © 2011 Ish Klein
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

The Paste Man

 

You’d better have an adhesive kind of mind

if you want to keep up with global fluctuations

in the quality of sound: a sudden irruption

of rain sound, say, from a dull red canopy

across the street from Frank’s place, one single

shot in the night, foot pulled from muck,

tape hiss. The slippery dusk conspires

to keep you one step behind yourself.

Delivery trucks disguise themselves as chandeliers,

recede into the ceiling with a barely audible

click!, sealing you off from their treats,

radical news or fruit juice combinations.

At the Commercial Museum a man’s super-glued

to the sky. He can see you right now.

You look like a speck of confetti

careless sweepers left behind in the convention aftermath.

from The Waste Land and Other PoemsFind more by John Beer at the library

Copyright © 2010 John Beer
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Elegy for 39

 

It was the year we decided not

to get divorced. The poem

said something like clouds

moving quickly across the sun

while the rest of us talked about faith

and how my personal level of intensity

in faking it is one way to measure

the depth of the drop I’d have to make

before I could turn over in bed

toward a window open to the night

and spotty rain dotting leaves

with light caught from porch lamps

and know that what I’d imagined

to be time drained of sound

was the purest sound,

one person turning away from another

into a cone formed by his turning.

We sat on the porch while the kids napped

and watched light rise and fall

through clouds moving quickly across the sun

like distractions from a vital and complex truth

that requires too many pages of exegesis

for people with days like ours,

time’s version of an optical illusion,

both too long and too short

for anything like actual thinking.

I remember one of the many unsolicited

pieces of advice we got when Elmer

was coming along—don’t make any major

decisions until he’s one, you’ll be too

tired to get it right. So naturally

we changed jobs and moved across the country.

I can’t even remember who gave us that advice.

They’re probably out of our lives now.

And what’s in them, these six and something

years out of your forty and my almost

that we’ve been spinning through together,

watching our obligations mount

around sensations that folded out of us

from zones of our beings we hadn’t

seen before, like a third arm you’d

somehow failed to notice, an us

both alien and uncannily us,

children, a marriage, an unexpected love—

these things have taken over,

brushed aside whatever

was there before

like an anxious developer.

This force is of

our own making but comically

has no regard for us, like that arm

is a whole body, two bodies,

tugging us along wherever they feel like going,

the most dangerous places they can find.

I was writing that line on my phone

while following fifteen-month-old Harlan

doing his duck walk down a wheelchair ramp.

He leaned way over the side of it

to look at some smooth rocks on the ground

and, as I got to the word “dangerous,”

toppled down into them.

So much for art, some might say,

but not me, I just learned

how many people have put videos online

with the words “spectacular sunset” in their titles,

there’s one after another.

I’d made one myself, a video I mean,

because the sun had ducked

behind an unmoving cloud

at the horizon, and I knew from the internet

how long it would take the sun to reappear

in the gap between the bottom edge of the cloud

and the top edge of the earth,

a sun-sized gap dotted with its own

minor cloud variants

there to complicate the image,

a sun moving slowly behind clouds,

and I felt a low note being struck within,

something I’ve learned is not sadness

but gratitude in unknowing,

a feeling that is hard but porous,

that dissipates like short rain

steaming off its first idea of the ground.

Dark pink reformatting the blue,

dark pink lights of our forever car,

dark pink of hippies, dark pink life tassels,

dark pink “to fly,” as you put it,

“by the night of our pants.”

I don’t know where the night goes,

but I know we’ll be awake,

and why, this long year of nights

when people standing right next to us

broke in half and spilled everywhere

just because they paid attention.

We don’t have an exact date

for when we got engaged,

there was no moment, no single question

but instead weeks of them

while an idea changed from something we could do

into something we would, it was gestational,

like this year has been, a year I hope is over.

I’m glad you’re turning forty. I wish I were, too.

I need a number for what we’ve come through,

our second engagement, longer than the first,

permanent, in fact, the questions of questions

and the answer we give—

give, deny, and give again.

from To Literally You Find more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2017 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

“For the first time in six weeks, no mid-level administrators”

 

For the first time in six weeks, no mid-level administrators, no visiting scholars, no artists-in-residence, no junior associates, no senior assistants, no mentees, no prospies, and no traveling spouses of acquaintances from college accompanied us on date night, last night. We were alone together, beyond our bolted townhouse door, for the first time since Thanksgiving. Things began on a sweet note. We took the train to a trendy new trattoria in the South Loop. We shared a cigarette under a streetlight in the softly falling snow. We held hands across the table and ordered Whiskey Sours. Things soured, as a result, rather swiftly. The waiter—an impassive, moustachioed hipster with a map of Hades tattooed on his neck—refreshed our empty goblets and withdrew into the shadows with a bow. My husband glowered through his grain-fed-duck-fat fries. I speared my quail confit through angry tears. In a cozy corner booth, a lovestruck couple with thighs entwined under the table hurried through a half-carafe of house red and hustled off into the night without dessert. We downed our dregs in stony silence, and when the candle on our table fizzled out, at ten to ten, we forked over the exorbitant tip, hailed a cab for the extortionate ride down Lake Shore Drive, and shelled out a final fortune to the spent sitter, who was drooling on my pillow in front of The Bachelorette when we got home.

from A Pillow BookFind more by Suzanne Buffam at the library

Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Buffam
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Bonfire, Jetty

 

I get on, nothing to contribute,

and stay happy according to the fire,

nothing to contribute, maze

of loose brick—in inclines

degenerate—bound (higher)—

raking the form from those leaves,

unbuttoning the shirt for those leaves . . .

For the wall, the monument,

Bolivar shattered into rags

& sunlight; unity, “it is our

distinct pleasure . . .”

As the hands topple—affection—

I was, I became, I preferred the sweep

of the water to that fall, I preferred

the jets of pale marble—& the women

they’ve said to me, & the men

they’ve said to me, between

the sun’s wavering, the water, they say

and remain faceless and beyond my reach.

from We Are PharaohFind more by Robert Fernandez at the library

Copyright © 2011 Robert Fernandez
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

“Last night I dreamed of Manderly again”

 

Last night I dreamed of Manderley again.

A passage marked by a flower, a hidden screen

That neither player managed to navigate.

I sat next to you for a minute. Then you went

On to another stage. I’m not about

To embrace an ancient faith or serve

My emperor. I don’t even have an emperor.

Sweet kisses of distraction, sweet release

Of sleep. My notes assembled in the corner.

The things I thought I heard you say might not

Match up with your reality. Can I blame you?

For a second or two, the armor melted

Into a psychic rose. I called out in the stillness,

And I was still, unknowing, the thing you made.

from LucindaFind more by John Beer at the library

Copyright © 2016 John Beer
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Lithuanian Sunset

 

Ninety minutes since dark, I do not expect the surrounding ice
to quit its hold nor do I expect you wearied at my door:
shoulders narrow ’neath your dark green cloak.
 
You wouldn’t be dashed by stones at my door
who take unkindly strangers; flinging them knee to split knee.
Dashed all strangers take me less than notable, even addled
as if they could win a contest to prove their contention.
 
I have wandered, am neither here nor there;
you are where I left: sous terre,
roiling voices beneath your brow
and beaux who wrote with forced arm; not strong.
 
This is to say meet me where I met you first.
Where you stirred as I lowered myself over cliff’s edge.
A burgundy train I wore; you held me up by this.
Your great strength, a thing beside, a saviorial beast, loving.
 
I am the kind who need only be reminded of kindness
and with my All will pursue that quality in the new life.
The remembering one.You seemed to see this.
You lost your horse carelessly that day.

from Union!Find more by Ish Klein at the library

Copyright © 2009 Ish Klein
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Mixed-Up Moon

 

Mixed-up moon. Prop open the book.

Now and forever, you nip it in the bud.

I allow the heart does not make the blood,

Nor the human being the book.

 

Mixed-up moon. I don’t have to look.

Que no quiero ver that talked-up perfection.

It’s no use trying to rub out your reflection

From a piece of polished brass.

 

Mixed-up moon. I’ll take that as a yes.

I’ll take it outside, out of ’shot of the mourners.

I think you’ll agree it’s time we cut corners. We’ll cut

So many corners, the thing becomes a sphere.

 

Mixed-up moon. Insincere, insincere.

Thomas à Kempis and Francis Xavier.

The Better Book says that good behavior

Is the privilege, not the duty, of the good.

 

Mixed-up moon. Don’t misunderstood.

You close the circuit, find out what it’s worth.

Redwood roots running deep in the earth:

They only go down six feet.

 

Mixed-up moon. Pilgrimage sweet.

All with me’s meete that I fashion fit.

We wake and forget the dream we were having:

Same thing happens to childhood.

 

Mixed-up moon. Already reviled it.

Bird in the egg and a tale to embroider.

Any ten words in any order,

The result will be the same.

 

Mixed-up moon. Verstehn Sie ihn?

Ich—hüte mich, ihn zu verstehn.

About these kids making out on the train,

I say: Deja ir a mi pueblo.

 

Mixed-up moon. Count Dracula Twemlow.

Twelve disciples and a canine nuisance.

My rabbi says that whoever chooses

Belief is not a believer.

 

Mixed-up moon. Rock-’em Occam’s cleaver.

First publication in form of a fascicle.

Children! they don’t even know it’s possible:

Having friends you don’t like.

 

Mixed-up moon. Riker’s Island bike.

Raking the grass and raking the weed.

A plane’s shadow on building and street:

It doesn’t travel the speed of the plane.

 

Mixed-up moon. Semper the same.

Temperament, temperament, given to worry.

Their fault is they can’t even tell a story

Unless they understand it.

 

Mixed-up moon. Give Petunia a minute.

He’s gone over to Jesus, molted a feather.

Any ten shapes, taken together,

Are a jigsaw of the degenerate body.

 

Mixed-up moon. Gastrocnemius.

Hard for these geniuses, easy for children.

Most of what passes for bravery is only

Want of imagination.

 

Mixed-up moon. Insert pagination.

Bird in the egg, picking its fur.

You want to know what’s in it for her?

Your good looks and diction/syntax.

 

Mixed-up moon. Everybody wins.

¡Aléjate de mí, Satanás! unless

Any lit match will pass for a compass:

The flame points up, because hell is above us.

 

Mixed-up moon. Hell is above. 29 April 2014:

I have memorized the Hindu poem that says

This hunk of quartz must someday flex

Its back and run up a tree.

from Try Never Find more by Anthony Madrid at the library

Copyright © 2017 Anthony Madrid
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Teach Me to Box

 

Just simmer down, silverware,

and stay in the icebox like a good little salad.

Where do you think you’re going,

elocution class? I used to admire

your poignant nose, your mouth

rippling up from your jaw

in a dipping crest that suggested

not merely disdain,

but a full and deep understanding

acquired over years of study

that led you to this moment

when you regretfully explain

precisely why you cannot love him.

Her hair was pulled back, black

with thick lines of light

shining off it in stripes

like sunlight off a record.

She held her cards in one hand

and my arm with the other.

“Stop,” she said. “You don’t know

what he’s capable of.”

Then she smeared across the floor

like Sunday by the sea. California

gossip, Connecticut cherrytree.

Bowls stacked in the kitchen

rumble back and forth,

the waiter’s desperate eyes

skittering around like moths

as his winding hands flutter

into his mouth. It would give me

no end of pleasure to leave your wardrobe forever.

Instead I walk through the night

in my thick painting and hat

waiting for someone in a life vest to come along,

tie me up, and set the egg timer for years.

The yellow man lay at the bottom of the stairs,

knocked out but breathing,

and I looked at you, clutching the banister

as feathers dropped sluggishly around you.

Could anything be done with us?

Was it always going to be this unmentionable proof

trailing after each moment like a wake?

I think our faces are completely determinate.

I fell into a category and came to rely on it

like shrubs skimming the interstate,

growing impossibly among fumes.

I just wanted the police to know,

their guns drawing open the shade

as light splatters across the bedroom

and wakes the bewildered orphan.

from Ethical ConsciousnessFind more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2013 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

“It’s nice out, it’s hot”

 

It’s nice out, it’s hot. The baby’s still sleeping. She listens to him, checks his breath, regular, touches his forehead, cool. The child is sitting, wrapped in pelts. Same gestures for him, her hand, then her lips, on his forehead. He shuts his eyes, opens them again—sleep? No. Not yet. Ok, I’m going to sleep for an hour, wake me up in an hour, the stars will be out. We’ll be able to find our way. Then you can sleep when it’s your turn. I’ll keep watch tonight. Ok. She lies down. She shuts her eyes. She falls asleep immediately. The child watches her. Déjà vu, but he’s learning again; to be able to fall asleep immediately. To sleep quickly, deeply. Her breath already slows. Already her eyes are moving under their lids. She dreams. She hasn’t eaten, she fell asleep, she’ll eat afterward, he’ll sleep afterward. Suddenly to do the most important thing. The most important thing. He doesn’t want to forget. He repeats to himself: The most important thing. To do suddenly the most important thing. How does she go about choosing the most important thing? To always choose the most important thing? How doesn’t she hesitate, when, suddenly, without hesitation, she is doing the most important thing? This, too, he mustn’t forget to ask her. How she does it. To ask her in a bit. When she wakes up. Before he falls asleep. To ask her. So she explains. So he knows. So he learns. The baby stirs, eyes shut. He pushes gently on the basket’s edge, gentle swaying, there there, gently rocking. In our legs. If it cracks, we’ll feel it there, in our legs. He focuses to see if he feels anything whatsoever. Nothing. The wind outside is blowing. Blowing less than a moment ago. When did it weaken? Before or after she fell asleep? He looks at his watch. 10:36pm. He’ll make note that, at 10:36pm, the wind weakened. Are they advancing less quickly now? Why didn’t she look and make a note right away on the map when she came back? The map is folded up, there, at her feet. Wasn’t the most important thing knowing where they were in order to know the speed at which they were drifting, and toward where? How many days can they hold up at sea if the ice patch breaks again?

from Screwball Find more by Anne Kawala at the library

Copyright © 2018 Anne Kawala
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.