archives winter 2008



Poem for Brandon Shimoda

Lavender smock of spotted light & clam shovels
for the dirge to gather us out.  Well, you found

what you couldn’t’ve come for
& it keeps finding itself in your own

messages—crow lines to carry the voice
of the poem back home, home here,
now undoable nets of the past.  I can
see your thread.  Your thread is

not invisible.  My grandmother is
in San Francisco and it’s 1944.
Oppen’s brick, all the days go off
like wheat.  Lice.  Fruitrot.

Can I say I hear it and still mean
I’m not coming? You go through it
with the reparation smudged out.

You laugh like a fire.  Pines.
Ice boots.  Gossip to rinse your
wrists with.  Wetter than the moon
in Stanford’s poems, well, no. But
you sing listening throughout.


Poem for Mathias Svalina

Here is where the dead go
to get noisy tromping out
songs to glove through

collating the meat with giant
hooks.  Says the night
wants from us what the night
cannot do for itself until

the lantern’s shaky song
gets twisted out.  Copy lengthwise,
elliptical star votive &

methods for boat wrecking
crews of this known only
for callused laughter,
crippled star of bees.
Socket say sorry but you might not
live this night through.  So say it.

City get us back with your wrong
cuts.  Even some of the missteps
are better than the so-called up
audial now.  


Joshua Marie Wilkinson is author of Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk (U of Iowa Press, 2006), Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms (Pinball Publishing, 2005), Figures for a Darkroom Voice, a collaboration with Noah Eli Gordon (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2007) and The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth, which is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. He is also author of several chapbooks: The Book of Truants & Projectorlight (Octopus Books, 2006), A Ghost as King of the Rabbits (New Michigan Press, 2005), A Brief History of Gossip, forthcoming from Dos Press, and The Book of Flashlights, Clover, & Milk, also forthcoming from Pilot Books. He is also co-editing an anthology to be released by the University of Iowa Press that will feature conversations between younger poets and their mentors. He lives in Chicago and teaches at Loyola University.