Literature : Word Choice

Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read two poems by Samuel Amadon, with art by Matthew Brandt, selected by Daniel Moysaenko.


Matthew Brandt, American Lake WA C8, C-print soaked in American Lake water, 46×64 inches, 2011. Image courtesy of the artist.

WHAT IS GOOD APPEARS, WHAT APPEARS IS GOOD

I pull the knife from my throat, walk into

heavy sands, seas, a long line flashes,

rises and warns, or we see to put it off.

A spider hung by its own or some other’s—

that works with I’m present for it

in the basement, changing fuses or shelving

boxes, empty, flattened. Is there a private

revolution not worth attention? Since

my cup’s not smaller. Since a cat encircles

my legs. Since I get all human on the couch

with maturation, slip the door into baby

a little bit more. There’s no metaphor in

memorizing the state capitols, or it’s probably

rank behind my ears—would you

scratch them in the middle–school parking lot?

Recovery’s not a fetish, but a bliss I’ll go

sick for. Staggered the alleyway,

or staggering, a knife down my throat, I

couldn’t bother in line, in a summer stale

with winds that unwind May, April.

I’d rather work again. Sweat moving, not

pools around unshaven neck fat flexed for

the sound of trees, the life

of the trade. While what won’t come about,

the cat turns her head in, sleeps a bit longer

in a place where she knows

we can find, but it’s better if we have to try.

TO MOVE THE CROWD

not where we went,     but set, set for



we bore, we    bore, sat



where we went,           came, we came



then did, dug,  poured, mixed,



prayed, and set, we     flowed, borne,



stained, mauled,          we crowded,



cried, slaughtered,       slain



as if poured,    cried as if



sat, keep         should we hear how



we came cast and left,            urged, cried



we art come, cam'st   we slept, then fell,



as we sought, we bid remember as



we heap, we set         then as we swung,



came not where         we beat, nor knew,



spoke not to stand,     leave, stepped, said shalt



to lose we came         to lie as we mean

Samuel Amadon is the author of Like a Sea and The Hartford Book. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He teaches at the University of South Carolina.

Matthew Brandt was named one of tomorrow’s “brightest stars” by Forbes in the article 30 Under 30: Art & Design. Brandt’s work is included in the collections of the Armand Hammer Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He was born in California in 1982, and received his BFA from Cooper Union and his MFA from UCLA. The artist currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

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Poetry
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