Larry Sawyer curates the Myopic Books Reading Series in Wicker Park, Chicago. His work is included in the anthologies The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century (Cracked Slab Books, 2007), Shamanic Warriors Now Poets (JN Reilly, ed. Scotland), and A Writers' Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obama's Inauguration (DePaul Humanities Center Press, 2009). His debut collection, Unable to Fully California, is available on Otoliths Press (2010). Larry also edits milk magazine (since 1998).
On a bench my newspapered nerves flutter.
Bloom of a dark, wide silence, the human
Tether keeps pulling. Like a snake bisected
Some hypotenuse out of sight, caffeinated.
The rejection of the forest floor, therefore
Is, in its elevator, a wordless lip, while
Originality convalesces in a retirement ward.
Can you see them? Festooned with teenagers
These quixotic gymnasia replete with audits
Move, slender and klutzy, as if incomplete.
But when the revolver of Indianas reloads
Every piñata from my childhood owes
Me a climax or a switchblade. What
Thumbnail December powered the twittering
Machine of our darkest months, yet kept me
Sheathed in the comfort of that celestial
Grinding? Do the cement notes of Orpheus still
Drip from the trees where the laundry
Of our lives waits in such rustic quarters?
Neither, say two final gondoliers ad infinitum.
Random outdoorsy vampires
Wear such a thirst for democracy
Love reading David Shapiro
And misidentifying nonagenarians
Along the avenue. Inchoate grist for
Wonks quietly kissing telephone booths
Bleats like majestic stereotypes
Chases transient zippers in the night
As neighbors exchange such
Speaking with blued tongues.
--after Nichita Stãnescu
stares up at
the flooding moon?
Whose light is
a sling for
stones, a worm's
Who waits for
We are entranced by a plastic Vesuvius.
The idea of it gnaws the mind.
And look, your
put the moves
on a cabbage.
such pious cargo?
Animals don't file into an ark voluntarily.
grass can know
UNABLE TO FULLY CALIFORNIA
I stare up at the sky and notice Orion, the
Big Dipper, the North Star, and see Venus on the horizon.
On my sleepwalk
this dark-purple lacquer, a sudden comforter, this
French kisses me
while the trees just stand there serenading.
We really can't trust this nocturnal sightseeing
but the climb does sweeten, as the air thins ever higher
toward some point we try to make.
Words bake in that hot moonlight.
Beastly pinecones have a conversation with me.
"Save us from this poem. We need to tell you something.
We've been watching you try to
write your way out of it and we're tired."
I'm tired too, but I look out at the edge of this
paper and see some mastodons there, I say.
The next morning I can't remember a thing, overhear something about
a bad dream.
Life goes on. We live a life of itineraries.
I'm glad, however,
that together we can open a colorful brochure for some
new world called hope.