Four Poems by Daniel Poppick

Winner of BOMB’s 2012 Poetry Contest, selected by Ben Lerner.

BOMB 121 Fall 2012
BOMB 121


We wring the museum a diary rain
& in its sheet shake unfastened the January
Entertainments an indoor century with wax
Fixed in its gold disc’s glare a plate with one face
Punched in & beaming at the string of beads
Made blades with which I slash the painted
Monster’s chin a beard of eyes this weather
Slips indoors & we continue sleeping off the diary
Of wax by gulping water you say you saw
The clouds wring rain of its museum
& glasses arrive brimming with wax entrainments
Joining webs of bone bleached in a horse’s
Throat her slashed-off horn pasted to the day
In the diary regarding sleepers & a lidless snow


The Mail

I would like to be arrested with you under the bank
thermometer in protracted
          strobe, greeting my instruments in
depositions, whittling
                    minutes off the rosary into
          a blue bag I steal
                              away with, blood tweeted
into re: the smear the light
                              bears off repeating
my friend rides waving by & she denies it
          in some thunder, the anthem
droning for
               one demanding access to the marquee
          we confetti off   the bloom from
                                                  she rides
home with matches dripping from jeans
& I follow reserving
                         fire less for wishing blink
than noon’s serial punctuation
          flipping through flame’s Post-it without reading
empty hives, deployed
                                   in parachutes embraces if
          sanctioned I swear by
                                             night to purchase notes
for those embers, to continue singing in subtraction


Champagne Year

In chrome we were functional
I’m talking metal for our lives while eschewing skeletal gold
Like span and flex and generation, canines all
Sharpened under a land inhaling
Persons as if it had given
Up on rain, but weather’s not information it only wears its shirts
And like la migliora fabbra sang this shirt is how I feel.
For you was sunburnt I are leaving we am buoyed by
Homages before day drops hits.
I do not think an occupation
Will teach us how to live but it may well teach us why to
And I welcome that stricture clean-willed as
Pierce sleep’s flow in waves of interview
So I am assisted by a radiance of bending
From corpus
Into a paperclip to slip onto a chain
So the breath exchanged in conversation will be a sitcom that
     not only
Bathes the room in blue light but may be remembered in
Waking, sweeter than the via dolorosa David
Letterman nightly takes us on with all his stupid teeth. God
     knows movies
Turn us toward a castle and me I’m processing being on
     holiday first with
Then inevitably from votives, so.
Do you follow? On
The twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of
The twenty-first century let’s
You and I meet from a variety of angles like magnets with
     a history
Rotating titanium flame, then pry each other
From its fingers
Strictly for the feeling of extracting other nouns from
     emitted light
Into a reflected one
Perforated with verbs as plentiful as rocking horses and
     wooden swords
Our tongues once made iron, for with our tongues
Myth flows of its own volition, washing
Machine packed with white sheets worn as capes. Perhaps
     the sheets are
Waves they are waves. Between us flows a school


The News

Transportation glows in the mammal
that you went by the banter one
     last time, the conversation about the bees
that plague, they were dying, what
                                     they would do
     to vegetable, vine, dialogue off
from a different season, & we would not know
     one plague from the next or
                                        the next one
being repetition, another its collapse
     another sound & still
another word of mouth
                    mouth the premise
     & cure   or would
                              you ride
another animal, a bird, a horse
     though the road lit by hide now
                                        plays like a
rag, song-harrowed bow, strings fucked
     into sugar
that you would tip your brim upon hearing
                                             the hive
     set bridling by the speed of swarm


Daniel Poppick lives in Iowa City and teaches creative writing at Coe College. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review Online, and the Claudius App. He edits the Catenary Press with Rob Schlegel.

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Originally published in

BOMB 121, Fall 2012

Featuring interviews with Miguel Gutierrez and Ishmael Houston-Jones, Haim Steinbach, Carolyn Cantor and Amy Herzog, Ben Chasny and Sir Richard Bishop, Kurt Andersen and Susanna Moore, Edith Grossman and Jaime Manrique, Lucy Raven, and Josiah McElheny.

Read the issue
BOMB 121