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I’ve written imitations, thought long and deeply

over models, delving into wordscape mysteries,

seeking keys to animate swirls of alternative lives

entombed in the pulp of dead trees, signatures

of once bright insight, a ghastly, ghostly business.

They do not consent to my friendship, and I,

in return, give nothing. I am but a host

these few years on earth. The author’s spirit

in me lives locked up. Can you imagine that?

Erased by this prison illusion, I wander

from task to task, head in a box, a shell-self,

a flat surface in forced three-dimension,

I long to be laid down, reduced, or filled,

to fall on my knees, to plead the return

of the lost benevolence I powerfully suspect

exists, and once saw, I think, but can’t remember.

The senses shrivel up. Leave us be, they cry.

Cups of skin creep over eyes, nose, ears, mouth.

This loathing without recourse is tasteless

love excess, turned sour, inward, sewn up.

Painstaking duty tracery calms the bursting forth,

which is crying, a boxed cat shaking, crazed

by the cramp of no care but kind words.

No, this dampened life-will is no irrational spate,

it is crystal sanity trapped in sad okays,

in especial safety before and after,

in knowing knowledge the soul’s sole sustenance

and knowing all knowledge must be undone.

from ClampdownFind more by Jennifer Moxley at the library

Copyright © Jennifer Moxley
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Published in Jennifer Moxley Poems

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.