UNGAINLY

We go bad
forth and back,

alone and good
together.

Given that, and I’m sorry,
but grief’s not

so different
from eating an egg.

PERSONS OF INTEREST

My un-renameable compatriots,
they no doubt know everything
we’ve said with these machines,
so any infiltration, if called for
on my part, will require a great
faking of new mind and heart,
thus making me one of them, save,
I should hope, for our part.

THEY'LL KILL YOU

Three weeks maybe, or say a month or so ago, a friend told a story of another friend. He, the telling friend, said the other friend wouldn’t, or didn’t, want the story told, and so he, the telling friend, didn’t mention the other friend’s name, though I was sure I knew whom he, the telling friend, was talking about. And then, the other day, I was in a prison (just visiting!) and all at once I knew his story, the telling friend’s, was not about—and could not have been about—the person about whom I’d thought it had been. In fact, or in what then felt like fact, the story then brought to mind a very different person, a person who had no connection whatsoever to the person of whom I’d thought earlier, but who, for whatever reasons—reasons I don’t remember, and can’t—was friend to both the telling friend (our margin thus reducing me to mood) and you.

SENTENCE SOUNDS (CENTRAL & MOUNTAIN)

Oh. I lead off with loss again, the present
tense behaving the back way into the past,
that grand scheme of blooms and their moving too fast,
among which, unlikely, I lived and I don’t,
my vantage points only the coast of myself,
an endlessly-drawn-out sarcastic-ish kiss
at water making new pictures possible
and less, the days it rains and days it doesn’t
falling smack into the record, the future
then ruining music for once and again.

I USED TO PUT THINGS PAST ME

Maybe hell is in fact

very quiet, is a hell
you can tell the value of.

Maybe animals come

to forgive one another,
and that’s what’s called time.

   

*

   

Today though, today

lets a cloud go
empty, and long

after afternoon,

a look at what
could come about

and won’t.

THOSE MOUNTAINS, THAT BRANCH

To tell friend from foe in a novel
situation was the gods’ job once.

(When faith won’t heal, it lacerates.
What love can’t want it breaks.)

And since we’ve been left to just
those mountains, that branch

hung with trash, them battle apples,
hives of ovens, a couple turns

of sun, and one solid shoved into
another—since, that is, we’ve gone

all the way ape—it’s like having come
back to a bad main idea, but also

to’ve sloped off home to have to think
of what our bones, bones mediocre

as anything else’s—as everything else’s—
would look like unattended to in mud.

PUT STRAIGHT

Right back at all this now not enough for me,
back to out of music into up against the empty,
today’s shame’s gawking over dead grass at traffic.
(Is remorse whatever the clean brain says it is?)

Graham Foust

Born in Tennessee and raised in Wisconsin, Graham Foust is the author of six books of poems, including To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems (Flood Editions, 2013), a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award, and Time Down to Mind (Flood Editions, 2015). With Samuel Frederick, he has also translated three books by the late German poet Ernst Meister, including Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014). He is Director of Undergraduate Studies in English at the University of Denver.

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