e d w a r d    s m a l l f i e l d

 

(american lit 4)

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(After Archilochos)
















(american lit 4)

 
                                                 A simple lyric:
                                             begin with pronouns
    & the names                               of towns.
                                                 The specifics
      assemble                                 to speak.
                                             In this half-known
    dialect, nobody                          can own            
                                                  the music.
                                                      Paris
                                           glitters, untranslated.
                                                    A grate-
ful audience sleeps                       in its chairs.
                      All silk, underwear & scarf & purse.
                              'You taught me how to curse.'

	

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                              article, adjective, noun:
                                    'pencils of rain'
                           'one writes only to erase again'
                                               inside her gown
                                                  the brown
          & sepia of photos               on the train
                                                     grain
              alcohol        & the back doors of small towns
                                               in the local dialect
                                                   a list of sins
'not like one who loses                     like one who wins'
                                 from this distance the wreckage
                                       'What is this a picture of?'
          what alights                       what hovers

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                                            Inside the movie
                                               the colors
                   leak                           & scour:
                                                           a be-
                       bop,                           a see
                through                              score:
                                                      'more,
                please,          sir' &               'flee
            sometime           me                  seek'
                                                        eros
         because you looked through me across
                                         from the Greek
                                            the wreckage
              'in isolate                           flecks'

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(After Archilochos)

 
A thousand           a million           hot            tears
                                                              can't melt
misfortune's          frozen          & bitter         welts
                                                                  near
  & nearer            the losses     of so many      dear
    things              & friends       & loves        a quilt
  of hurts                                                 you've felt
                             & feel           again—as the cheers
                                              of crowd can't dissolve
the hurt             of the hitter                    who has struck
  out—                                                        fuck
your grief away, or try to—                     the earth revolves
& the hot meat             & the wine            of the feast
                                can't deepen your pain in the least—

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EDWARD SMALLFIELD's poems have appeared or will appear in Bird Dog, Five Fingers Review, New American Writing, Parthenon West, Traverse, 26, Volt, and a number of other magazines. He is the author of The Pleasures of C and the coauthor of One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, a book length collaboration with Doug MacPherson.