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 work was recently included in The City Visible:
Chicago Poetry for the New Century (anthology, Cracked Slab Books, 2007) and
A Writersí Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obamaís Inauguration (anthology,
DePaul Humanities Center Press, 2009). Larry also edits milk magazine
(since 1998). His poetry and literary reviews have appeared in publications
including Versal, Chicago Tribune, Babel Fruit, Vanitas,
Jacket, MiPoesias, The Prague Literary Review, Coconut,
88, Hunger, Skanky Possum, Exquisite Corpse, Court
Green, the Miami Sun Post, Ygdrasil, Shampoo, Rain
Taxi, Van Gogh's Ear, and elsewhere. He has read his work at venues
including Woman Made Gallery, Quimby's and Myopic Books in Chicago.
UNABLE TO FULLY CALIFORNIA
I stare up at the sky and notice Orion, the
Big Dipper, the North Star, and see Venus on the horizon.
On my sleepwalk
this dark-purple lacquer, a sudden comforter, this
French kisses me
while the trees just stand there serenading.
We really canít trust this nocturnal sightseeing
but the climb does sweeten, as the air thins ever higher
toward some point we try to make.
Words bake in that hot moonlight.
Beastly pinecones have a conversation with me.
ďSave us from this poem. We need to tell you something.
Weíve been watching you try to
write your way out of it and weíre tired.Ē
Iím tired too, but I look out at the edge of this
paper and see some mastodons there, I say.
The next morning I canít remember a thing, overhear something about a
Life goes on. We live a life of itineraries.
Iím glad, however,
that together we can open a colorful brochure for some
new world called hope.
A phrase well
Not aching, necessary
What spectacle else
Just like that, with
More than that, it
Has it, certainly
NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN
Apparently they never reached the end
But why werenít the letters sent
Why write them if they were never meant to be sent
I donít know, itís a real head scratcher
But he does love her
Of that we may be certain
The overwrought yowling of that voice
I mean címon.
History hits youóheadlong into swan dive
That mushy cataclysm called morning
Opens your eyes. Back to your beloved mystery
But fake phone calls, gunshots, screams, disguises,
people pretending to be dead, and other devices
take advantage of a readerís assumptions.
But these waves will not forget this day, as our voices
Accept the fact that our own personal mysteries
Arenít quite as exciting, nor will they ever be.
Yet an oblivious city rises up each time that
Familiar melody plays. The calligraphy of a car slices
Through eveningís infinite violet. There is no
Photogenic heaven, and there will be no bloodless coup.
Everyone but him.
Nearby someone paints a
Letís get lost Chet Baker style
Canít be the corpse we
Rode in on
Are there any laws
Left to violate, this side
Of paradise. That a sun embalmed
Us as we waited for that celestial
Virgin to finally make it.
(Chief Hedge Fund
Last of the tribe, finally gave up, laid
Down and committed
In their canyon pads
Starlets bask like
Rare lizards as
They Kim Jong-il.
No amount of white-
Out will stop the astral
Pancake from flattening further.
We meant to Mayakovsky
Settled for Dijon.
JEWELED GREEN MEANING
Left outside face up in the sun
Worry and frustration are having their picnic
But we leave them there and go inside
With our poem that cannot look like a poem
Or act like a poem, but it is gone too
With all of its parties and cul-de-sacs.
Clouds garnish the salad of sky
That hesitates to reveal its beauty
As shadows lurk like untranslatable glyphs
Etched into a hidden and ancient stone.
There was a summer on our plates
That memorized each of our replies, as we
Hovered somewhere above the scene
Shiny and unexplored. A jeweled green
Meaning stares at us blankly and
punctuates another lull, says perhaps those
Two hypnotists do have wind-up eyes.
copyright © Larry Sawyer