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Category: Graham Foust

Poem

Stay, illusion! —HORATIO

You, shadow I could name after nothing,

silent inside some circuitry’s breathing,

you don’t see me, but I’m what seems to be

biting my way through April’s clamped blossoms,

a busted alarm for lack of vespers,

better things to do for lack of a cause.

I yield back the balance of my safety,

gladly, unless it’s all gone, in which case

I yield back my monopoly on me.

Splintered water—not ice, but fractured drops

if that’s possible, which it seems to be—

there’s that word again, “seems”: I don’t know it

or know it only in my ignorance,

so where was I? Of course: splintered water—

not ice, but fractured drops—each could in time

become a lens through which you might catch me,

though they can’t yet be fashioned for such use,

however pictured they may come to be

or not be in the blindness between us.

Through one or many more faults of my own,

notions to which I might’ve clung collapse

and I would call that the end of the sound

of thoughts arriving from another mind

only to return to their own nowhere

as strained and as disabled as they came.

There comes a time when one is far too young

to be answerable to anyone,

but this can’t be the case for very long.

About the rain, I was given the wrong

information, but not about the song

about the rally to a yearly low

that would erase us back to nature.

Much later, comma, illusory stone,

rooms of it, some feeling in its debris

wished out, and yet this isn’t how it sounds:

another branch from which to pull lemons,

another reason not to chrome the moon.

I live with you barely in front of me,

and patience is another kind of time,

but if for better or less than okay

today won’t outlive itself by a day,

don’t cry—besides, tatters can be pretty,

and in the near midst of its losing me

my mind wants memory, not history,

history having been drained of excess

or maybe filled with excess’s opposite:

you, shadow, outgoingly unholy,

whom I now name after nothing but this.

from Time Down to MindFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Conceptual Poem

I love a map for its inaccuracies,

a certain pearl for its certain pearl-ness.

I wouldn’t hurt a fly, but I’d kill one,

a way of life that keeps me asleep nights,

as if adrift in a niche of big oil.

Symmetry is more or less more

and less bunk—another hole, another

doily; the phrase “be that as it may”;

the fucking Milky Way by any other name . . .

A touch horrific is the green with which

the ground will tear the winter. I write this

as a florist muscles daisies into place.

from Time Down to MindFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Inhabiter

New hums in this room, new bones.

Of all the things of which you’ve never once thought, the ways in

which this child could die and this sentence might end can’t now

be said to be among them.

The color of misremembering is that of a field at evening’s edge,

a field where you weren’t born and you don’t live but somehow

have to.

Hard by the world and its at-risk trappings, its shit-handed crashes

in what can hardly be called miniature, you once went rolling

around lonelily, a hole in all you weren’t, and even walked on into

the woods and didn’t get leaves all over you.

Most impossibly close and uncontrollably quiet, your skin’s now

shadow, your insides a parliament of largely unseen meat.

You scratch a bug bite.

Its itch is knowledge doing something else’s job.

from To AnacreonFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Poem to my Daughter

The sky has, is, one exit, one excuse,

and if I’m dead now that I’m saying this,

I can’t vouch for my transition from life

as having been rough or even evident.

Have I tried turning it off and then on again?

Have I tried throwing it against the wall?

Getting to know you, getting to know all

about you getting the mirror to mean

not only me, and thinking I must look

dumber than I look—dumber, then, than prose—

I walk through the laundry room regretting

getting the weekend done this way, as if

backstage, and say the name of your birthplace

as if I’d lost a hundred dollars there,

which I may have . . . Dear, when nowhere, don’t do

as those of us in nowhere do—just go.

from NightingalelessnessFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © 2018 Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Q&A

You asked where I get my ideas, and I’d just like to say,

and this is really more of a comment than an answer,

but I’ve been thinking a lot about brain surgery lately,

and I’d give my right brain for a box for to haul

my ideas a little less than halfway across the country

so that they could be unceremoniously dumped into the Pacific,

but—and here’s the rub—that’s also the part of me

that just loves to come home to a vase of azaleas

and to drop all my coins and my keys into a dumb little dish.

from NightingalelessnessFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © 2018 Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

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.

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