From the Abandoned Poems project

I asked fellow poets to give me their “failed” or abandoned poems to work on.


To set this timber straight:
The eyelid of art shuts slowly
a tear keeps the orb from getting stuck
no punch lines. Genius loves conspiracy.
Mondrian straightens out his branches,
saying, “You’ve got to dream the lie
before you live it,” then ducks
to avoid an oncoming sparrow.
“You’ve got to twist it to get it straight.”
He’s leaving all the lines but none
of the edges. Still the tree gets darker
at night so take your opportunity.
“Why date my works?” he keeps on thinking,
apropos of nothing. “I hardly feel I paint them.”
after Geoffrey Young


How many breathless
at the tiny golden flecks
like sunlight sticking onto my back & tongue finding love at the bottom of a bag
of personally-pan-fried parmesan & potato chips & fraught
with eyes wetting the grass
the sun made me hazy
knowing nothing of women
except in this poem & contented with shady places
death once removed,
fleeing all others, myself too
this woman alive showing in that view of me
the limestone flower
she comes always before me, a man befriended by
KFC boneless even on High Holy Days —a lover by name at least
nothing less.
after Tim Atkins (after Petrarch)


You know this has all been done before
in the age of monster trucks
when shapes were as close as the objects of love
and their shadows would genuflect
as they backed off, a cause
from which language has resigned

you know

this has all been done as a formal reduction
with respect to the limits of the picture plane
—its unassuming spirit, inherently graceful
and I take great pleasure, however cheaply,
in it.
after Richard Hell