Larry Sawyer


Star of my childhood is
Still there in a changed sky
But I love you now in a hundred ways more essential than
I could have when we first met
Because now this poem is at Versailles
Which was the center of French government in
An opulent time. The smell at Versailles was said to be
"unique out of all the palaces in Europe" according to Duc de Saint-Simon.
Legs truly were books back then
In the days before the invention of the
We, however, you and I aren’t at the mercy of
Ferocious animals and a wild frontier
And not being Marilyn Monroe, your life will
Be infinitely richer, because it is real.
But as in River of No Return we have been
Sometimes mere moments from
Being dunked in the grim realities of our dream.
Because I get particular and disjunctive
And we know someday life will quit smoking.
Should we change into pronouns and live forever?
If we were to disappear into one
Another, and come out the other side
As if coming up might mean
Each of your glances is ambered
And to give you the real thing,
Fistfuls of orchids which would just whither
Eventually like Jacuzzied octogenarians, doesn’t
Seem as smart as memorializing them
As in the photo of Paul Eluard in which he holds up his
Hand as if a portal to the unknown
But nowhere nearly as mysterious as the
Silence. And even the jamokes know you are passing
Unique in this world, a true original
And to paraphrase his line, to what fantastic creature
Have I entrusted myself.
And I wanted this to be a poem for eternity
Because the rooms of your mind are
Infinitely beautiful and to spend time
With you there is the joy of my life
Where the wild flowers in our conversation grow.


Need me. In order to gain
Notice in their otherwise
Ignored existences. Look, I
Was reading once about trees

And since you are now, too,
Little known: Trees respond to
Injury by producing callus tissue,
Which is very people.


Fins of an ancient world, a burger
beneath the Eiffel tower a troupe of matadors
assess the lives of antique grocers
Romain lettuce peering out from automobiles
religion is resting still nude upon the grass
Europe of the soul, Christianity smells
of modern equations, Pope with your robes
reticent observer walking these streets
confessor of eggs and wallpaper
the prospect of these catalogs in the rain
25 cents for the adventures of policemen
divers beneath the shadows, your portrait
lends joy an obsolete moon, clarion of sun
director of beautiful dinosaurs, flesh trumpets
resound beneath the mural on the wall
streets of Paris resound in your mighty charms

violins of June, an encore of strange beautiful infants
white habits dancing in the glass
ancient friends among the pews, stained glass
pompadour of love and you there with your hours
blue casements of forgotten collage
amethyst profundity pronounces torch-lit red vents
gas creeping silently along the skin
eternity is honored among six branches
seven if you count resuscitation
Christ was an aviator to birds
landing on a record playing venerable hymns

oceans of Africa, fountains of mercurial blood
forgive us of our sins this immaculate night of panthers
dripping instants, a siren awakes and calls your name
Paris dances, a foul maintenance man
roulette wheels spinning monasteries and short piers
dropping off into nothing but blackness

sad music of presidents regard the women beautiful
you are an orange or else the moon
a house, a table, the lips of a rose
you resemble a song, familiar as yourself
brilliant son of lost waters.

Larry Sawyer curates the Myopic Books reading series in Wicker Park, Chicago. Chapbooks include Poems for Peace (Structum Press), A Chaise Lounge in Hell (aboveground press), Tyrannosaurus Ant (mother's milk press), which was recently included in the Yale Collection of American Literature, and Disharmonium (Silver Wonder Press). His blog is Me tronome. His work is included in the anthologies The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century (Cracked Slab Books, 2007) and A Writers’ Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obama’s Inauguration (DePaul Humanities Center Press, 2009). Larry has edited milk magazine since 1998. His poetry and literary reviews have appeared in publications including the Chicago Tribune, Babel Fruit, Vanitas, Jacket, MiPoesias, The Prague Literary Review, Coconut, 88, Hunger, and elsewhere.

His latest book, Unable to Fully California, will shortly be published by Otoliths.
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