Josh Malamy : The Eight-line Poems (2011)

  1. After "Watermelons" by Charles Simic
          Green Buddhas
          On the fruit stand.
          We eat the smile
          And spit out the teeth.


    Choose no sides—
    It is far from enough.

    Off to go slake something,
    It can be done blank-faced.

    Roused by distant judo,
    Thinking now meant tonight,

    Beachcombing at life's coast
    The skull springs its hinges.
    (uncollected)
  2. Again
    Return your guitar's destruction.
    When the sun has set twice,

    Two days will have passed.
    Loiter at the trespass.

    The eyes glazed over once,
    Will they do it again.

    Can they be counted on,
    Or has there been a change.
    (uncollected)
  3. Airlift
    I betray a
    Closeness, life where

    I said those words
    Awash with glee

    To speed the tide
    In and make what's

    Thoroughgoing
    Quintessential.
    (uncollected)
  4. Aition
    tweeting birds
    die

    end
    flamelessly

    this world
    not so much

    i begin
    its idyll
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  5. All of Nature
    She hears other people laughing,
    The old trick once more.

    With good humor
    I am under none of my own
      power;

    I do my dangerous job
    At the foot of the statue

    They built while laughing,
    A statue of a beating heart.
    (from Paycheck University)
  6. Anopsia
    Can't return, so
    Much ground I've

    Covered, stars a-
    Bove a vatic map of

    It all. Each super-
    Nova unmarked, un-

    Seen, chaos lacking
    Meaning, absence.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  7. Ariadne
    Wrong Romans
    To do as.

    Stoic and
    Jittery,

    Leaving the
    Apartment,

    Coming home
    Diminished.
    (uncollected)
  8. Art
    Art to finally
    Conclude. Does

    Anything
    Beyond resent-

    Ment transmog-
    Rify beneath

    Your wings? No
    Daydreaming.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  9. Attention
    Grip tape of love.
    A century

    Of moments.
    Having lost

    All capacity
    For fear, still

    Swayed by the
    Main story.
    (uncollected)
  10. Attorney
    If it's world–cal-
    Ibratory,

    It suffices
    For an answer.

    I would put that
    Down; don't use a

    Garden rake for
    Marrow research.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  11. Basquiat
    Christmas at Basquiat's
    Grave.

    Here I am.
    For Halloween I was

    The renunciation of
    The material sphere.

    I love you, Jean-Michel.
    (Green-wood Cemetery)
    (from Paycheck University)
  12. Bed
    Where does he
    Live? In the

    Upset for
    Days asleep

    Nightingale
    Verb tenses

    Love fate quick-
    Ly elapsed.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  13. Before
    Phantoms lie
    In blood.

    But do
    I care.

    Wormholes
    Mustn't

    Appear
    Human.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  14. Bell
    I promised you so
    Much that you should

    Have known I'd never
    Be able to follow

    Through on most of
    It. But, you didn't.

    I can't help that.
    It's no one's fault.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  15. Blanket
    Life's disarray
    Orchardized

    A candle
    Stalagmitic

    Pollen drip
    Vinelike

    In reams
    Towered
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  16. Botany
    cool burning house
    step down

    earth bench
    clarity pulse

    plywood crime
    risk sneakers

    adding gun
    life gem
    (uncollected)
  17. Bottle
    The passing part
    This confidence

    Unwinds
    Like deck

    Chairs afford
    Take me at

    The beach
    I'm shore
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  18. Bright Oyster Bay
    I look past the name
    in big lights "CHICAGO"

    Over the hills of Ten-
    nessee down past some

    Lakes, some grassier
    spots and there it is,

    Somewhere by the coast,
    big lights "INNER PEACE"
    (uncollected)
  19. Chasm
    This chasm is bottomless.
    I peer in,

    Watch my eyes trail the dark,
    Feel my blood breathe,

    Go cold as if open.
    This divide of not being

    In the chasm and the chasm,
    These haunted borderlands.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  20. Chatter
    Senseless pulse,
    Patch of lake,

    Ringed sun
    Horchata.

    Tried to move
    In syrup,

    Soil became
    Their long coat.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  21. Chicago
    Never before
    Such excitement

    To be no one.
    No heart,

    In Chicago
    One plays

    Where's Waldo?
    In Waldo.
    (uncollected)
  22. Childhood
    Your heart beats against
    My open hand, and mine

    Against yours. We feel
    Funny standing here like

    This in the middle of
    The sidewalk, but here we

    Are—where I grew up, right,
    You half giggle, half ask.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  23. Christmas
    Knee-deep in Christmas,
    Always the same cheer.

    Listen for sleigh bells.
    What can you hear,

    What do you live for?
    Christmas, fear, death,

    Santa Claus, silence.
    For who-knows-how-long.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  24. Cladogram
    ghosting around
    can't sign

    their work
    can't resist

    some bottles
    can't via

    phone leave
    for dead
    (uncollected)
  25. Clique
    I play my lute
    And try to be patient.

    Violence of love.
    Karma of love.

    Clutch the cavern,
    Bony fingers,

    Give it all up,
    Commune with the sea.
    (uncollected)
  26. Coda
    Give myself
    Whole nights

    Trying to
    Think it,

    Often
    Thinking it

    By demon-
    Stration.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  27. Cold-blooded
    Beautiful
    Resurrector,

    At love's height
    The stars, though

    Still small, swarm
    The sky. I

    No longer
    See your work.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  28. Coney Island
    Took the "Q" to Coney Island,
    Shot myself by the sea.

    Blood ran into the sand,
    Blast heard far and wide

    Down Stillwell Ave. and across
    Surf Ave. The Wonder Wheel

    Stood still. The waves broke
    And the pier slammed shut.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  29. Copal
    Christ's warped path
    Through longshirtedness.

    Chocolate golden ticket
    Breathlessly cold.

    Given the talc tree,
    Its high spiritual rung,

    You pick your head up
    And a month has passed.
    (uncollected)
  30. Corundum
    Chocolate dissolve
    My mouth. Every

    Indication—
    At whose insistence?

    At mine. Arms do not
    Beat nor does the

    Heart extend. Gan-
    Grenous typo.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  31. Couloir
    Emptiness
    Of a garden,

    Unnamed streets,
    Unnamed poems,

    Unnamed children.
    Too much time

    Alone. "Bio-
    Hives", pierages.
    (uncollected)
  32. Dervish
    what masters yoga
    to be so new to become

    old as fast as it
    can, as soon as it

    can swim dives for
    what seems days to

    resurface slowly exhale
    sing create time
    (from Paycheck University)
  33. Display
    Silence object,
    Disinterpret the

    Punishing sphinx.
    My sanity is

    A national
    Park. It courses with

    Dumb jock blood. You
    Can touch if you want.
    (uncollected)
  34. Doll
    Meticulously kept,
    Stored behind glass,

    It looks like some
    Poor synonym for joy.

    I want you to lie,
    Tell me you have no

    Idea how it got there,
    What it's doing here.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  35. Down the Middle
    If you open up a box
    And find in it a sleeping fox,

    Put the lid back on and run
    'Cause sleeping foxes ain't no fun.

    If you open up your life
    Down the middle with a knife,

    Don't assume you're right to shout
    When not a drop of blood falls out.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  36. Elegy
    Love is dead,
    Never lived.

    See its grave
    In your eyes.

    Once believed
    I could save

    It. Now wise,
    Mourn instead.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  37. Entire
    No game, no system.
    Destroy your god.

    Year of victory.
    Year of victory.

    Hard to figure why.
    Is it the T-shirts?

    It's the T-shirts,
    The arms, the design.
    (uncollected)
  38. Epistle
    Proximity of an object
    Longer than the body

    And not nailed to the wall.
    Keep drinking sans leaving

    House. Quit crossing my mind.
    Can't necessarily

    Call buying a blanket
    Completing the transformation.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  39. Exactly
    Don't catch the lesson,
    Miss the boat, end up

    Stranded somewhere be-
    Cause of it, leave it

    To you to fuck it all
    Up. Leave it to you to

    Put everything back to-
    Gether, every new day.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  40. Failure
    Failure is a bell
    But lightweight—sunlight,

    Hairbreadth
    Aggression of the clean.

    Plush ar-
    Chive of

    Stepping through
    Wherewithal.
    (uncollected)
  41. Fauvism
    Summer in Seattle,
    There's never any sleep

    So it's like the movie.
    Spend the whole night crying,

    Forgot how much I love you.
    I'll do something reminds you,

    Take you on a whale watch,
    Or we could go bowling.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  42. Freight Train
    Asterisk
    Removal

    Ceremony.
    Opticians,

    On your marks.
    Meat of recent

    Decisions
    Exceeds me.
    (uncollected)
  43. Friend
    It's a trap.
    Wake from the

    Pectin sleep.
    Keep using

    The soap, but
    Lose the ag-

    Glomerat-
    Ed washcloths.
    (uncollected)
  44. Genre
    I thought about it and then
    Decided against it. Hear

    Those quarters clicking, shoeprint
    On the elevator wall

    Registering complete ac-
    Quiescence. The signature

    Of personal flourish is
    Obsessive repetition.
    (uncollected)
  45. Gestalt
    Symptom, solution,
    Your rich body,

    Anyone, because
    The spirit isn't

    Universal. Equi-
    Librium, blank

    Sequela, parity
    Dangling from it.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  46. Grieg
    Skit-
    Ter,

    Lope,
    I

    Know
    When

    It
    Ends.
    (uncollected)
  47. Guerdon
    Late-night television
    Advertisement for

    Knives. Paid for half an
    Hour, which they use to

    Show 28 minutes
    Of pranksters who have

    Vowed to "cut through all
    the bulls#$%!" Call now.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  48. Guitar
    This guitar is old and
    Should be kept in its case,

    Don't want dust covering
    The thing, though its sound is

    Dusty, like engine water through
    A junkyard colander. I just

    Want my things kept in some
    Kind of order, that's all.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  49. Handshake
    Program it
    To respond

    By smiling
    To the thought

    Of the dread
    Of a life

    Of making
    Others smile.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  50. Harvest
    Unhide,
    Ableave,

    Desay,
    Exreave,

    Implace,
    Igbrace,

    Indure,
    Irrace.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  51. Havdalah
    Ignorance is no walk in the park
    Ringside at the grave

    Distracted by zero
    A world or path so designated

    Researching an approach
    Being cute doesn't have to be thankless

    Cigarette smoking doesn't have to be legal
    Determined by workload
    (uncollected)
  52. Help
    sadness isn't
    gel applied

    once luck
    wins costs

    chime snail
    revise graves

    blindly double
    night's tithe
    (uncollected)
  53. Hero
    Finally
    The way I

    Dreamed it, my
    Arm sawn off

    I watched too
    Much coffee

    To not choose
    Adventure.
    (uncollected)
  54. Hiatus
    One day the pain
    Is gone, the blood

    Is gone. You move
    And are alive

    Again. The skin
    Regrown, the bone

    Cosseted anew
    As though you'd thought it.
    (uncollected)
  55. Hill
    When there
    Is metaphor.

    There is
    A saint.

    Who the
    Precipice saw.

    The hepatitis
    Poet's at.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  56. Impact of the Unequivocal
    I don't want to
    Burn myself down.

    I am sending a
    Vitamin C down.

    Sneak out of the
    House each morning.

    I've come to share my
    Herstory with you.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  57. Journal
    The ineffability
    Of my missing fingers.

    The body cradles itself;
    These lifetimes are too extreme.

    I send myself to test things
    Ordinarily whist.

    The brain pontoons the body,
    The universe comes to you.
    (uncollected)
  58. Kiss
    At night
    We disintegrate

    Two tubes
    Connect breaths

    Like crumbs
    Ride ants

    No nightfall
    Weighs perishable
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  59. Lifetime
    A nice clean body
    Free of all diseases

    And then mimics itself:
    A cephaloid head,

    Cardiac heart.
    That sweet voice,

    Those red knees,
    Abandoned.
    (from Paycheck University)
  60. Locker
    Wait long as longer
    Thrilled by my pace

    Even not well-augured
    Alter poetry

    Perhaps there's a saying
    Or deadly curse

    Emits a signal
    Soaking nescient hearts
    (uncollected)
  61. Long Poem
    The camera's reflection
    In each eye,

    A plastic screen
    Doubles the mind,

    A suicide's mien
    When you're feeling fine:

    A vaccination
    Against suicide.
    (from Paycheck University)
  62. Lovers Past
    Seems like nothing wants to last,
    no trace wants to be traced.

    All I want is your arms
    but not your arms.

    Kathy Acker, Jean-Michel
    Basquiat, Cy

    Twombly, John Fahey, and
    now you, love.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  63. Luck
    Disaster's
    Protractions

    Cease raging.
    Sunset comes

    To a nightmare,
    Teeming peace.

    Stillness sups
    Ministration.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  64. Magic
    Magic isn't being
    Unprepared. The fog of

    Daylight, vague poetry
    Of darkness. Shapeshift

    From misery to
    Misery, accept

    Life's pacing. No
    Love letters home.
    (uncollected)
  65. Marriage
    Let's
    Pop-

    Si-
    Cle

    Stand
    This

    Crime
    Scene.
    (uncollected)
  66. Meniscus
    Not even the maze works.
    Panda with glaucoma,

    Don't download the
    Index of phenomena.

    In high health
    Together we ache,

    Conjuring the machine
    From gimmicked schematics.
    (uncollected)
  67. Method
    To say I'm happy
    Is accurate. The

    Poems come while walking,
    The phrases "I can't,"

    "I don't," "I won't," "I'm
    Not" are jettisoned

    Inasmuch as speech
    Admits a censure.
    (uncollected)
  68. Murder
    In spring (what is spring?)
    Ten thousand songs would dog me

    But are better for the soul
    Than wine. Will to ascesis,

    Will to vengeance. Look at
    All of the militarized

    Civilians. The only recre-
    Ational activity is murder.
    (uncollected)
  69. Nomad
    Two poems, either
    Late or early, a

    Special circle in
    Hell where only I

    Drive. There is a
    Question that Nat-

    Ure abhors. I have
    The courage to know.
    (from Paycheck University)
  70. Northeast
    In this climate of thought,
    One should expect this

    Weather of praxis. Hard
    Rain of what-to-do, bone-

    Chilling tempers, barometric
    Pressure this way and that.

    This is winter, amigo, of the
    Soul, of the spirit.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  71. Part
    On any dark and stormy night,
    There might be another way.

    Race against the gloom,
    Red moonlight on your cheek.

    Wind calls your name,
    Flash of lightning calls again.

    Torn up by thunder,
    Scattered by the rain.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  72. Pathiness
    Taught by monsters
    And the absent

    Elutes gently
    Sloping calm. You

    Call it acci-
    Dental omis-

    Sion, I call it
    Standard English.
    (uncollected)
  73. Pennant
    Grow old and die,
    Or the poet inside you

    Is a game save,
    The most coherent

    Spam e-mail
    I've ever received

    From your account.
    Change your password.
    (uncollected)
  74. Phone
    For
    Whom

    Love's
    A

    Tier,
    Try

    Exit
    Row.
    (uncollected)
  75. Pinball
    stealing from the library
    wake up early

    structuralism
    free books

    subway
    book collector

    return
    stacks
    (uncollected)
  76. Podia
    Go into
    Isolation.

    Save me
    The trouble.

    Run, tape
    Rips. Zo-

    Etropic
    Victory lap.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  77. Poem
    Love, which I
    Organized for

    Myself in the
    Dead of winter,

    Came crawling
    In. I stood

    Up, I was so
    Bold and unafraid.
    (from Paycheck University)
  78. Points to the Sky
    A warning
    To those who

    Would make of
    My death an

    Apocalypse:
    These little poems,

    They have form,
    Not so bad.
    (uncollected)
  79. Pottery
    When life was a buffet,
    I stuffed my face.

    The waiters are leaving.
    Porphyritic machine,

    Magic book manipulator
    (A Thousand Plateaus).

    Mille feuilles
    Filter the light.
    (from Paycheck University)
  80. Prodigy
    After Easter we
    Gather the eggs

    We've stowed in
    Drawers and set

    Out in baskets
    To return them

    To the chickens
    Out in the coop.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  81. Rain
    While you were gone
    I bought beer.

    No longer starved for love,
    No longer drinking wine—

    The thick warm socks,
    Didn't I used to wear them

    About the house? I
    Accede defeat.
    (from Paycheck University)
  82. Regulus
    Bored,
    Scared,

    Sad,
    Angry,

    Tired,
    Nervous,

    Regretful,
    Nostalgic.
    (uncollected)
  83. Replay
    Another fascist poem
    About nothing that

    Gives materialism the
    Shaft. All I give one

    Good goddamn about
    Is the "1" or "0" that

    Draws my attention
    For no good reason.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  84. Research
    7 a.m. argument
    Plotless dialogue

    Can you call the kids
    Anything derogatory

    If they pay the bills
    If you lived in a tent

    Somewhere forested
    You'd twig green leaves
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  85. Respite
    I love you.
    Each tear you cry

    Is a drop
    Missing from

    The Yarra.
    Hated river,

    My lover
    And I starve you.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  86. Romance
    Your memory is to
    My dreams what "My

    Favorite Things" was to
    Trane. Every time I

    Go to sleep it's a
    Different 1967 and

    We do it for
    Thirty-five minutes.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  87. Seams
    Christianity
    absence

    Adams
    Branca

    Cage
    poetry

    read aloud
    water torture
    (uncollected)
  88. Second
    One of us is lying,
    One of us is telling

    The truth, who are
    The rest? I repeat,

    One of us is telling
    The truth, and the

    Other is lying. The
    Rest, where they are.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  89. Shakespeare
    work hard
    harness

    simple
    register

    so used to
    meaning

    nothing
    clean break
    (uncollected)
  90. Sorry
    Shoe dropped jig
    Up. Attack food.

    Parthenon
    Byzantine.

    Struggle house.
    Stormy inputs.

    Magnification
    Hypnosis.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  91. Study
    With the loss
    Of one's fear

    Of dark rooms
    Comes tiptoe

    Creeping to
    Blind corners

    In search of
    Random heat.
    (uncollected)
  92. Suicide
    How late it blooms
    And the blood rolls

    Doubtless handed
    Ahead by God.

    Night advances
    Its stars. Faced with

    Unquittable tasks,
    My power grows.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  93. Talent
    Commit to dicing
    Before chopping.

    The sky's caress
    Calls itself Bee-

    Keeper's Anaphy-
    Laxis, or Cheese

    Maker's Lactose
    Intolerance.
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  94. Together
    Midnight lanterns.
    No signal,

    No distress.
    Pain is not

    A metaphor
    For lesser

    Or greater pain.
    Midnight lanterns.
    (uncollected)
  95. Tokyo Park
    For no one's sake,
    Away from home,

    The kind you are willing
    To wait for

    Appears,
    Vanishes,

    Returns,
    All along Tokyo Park.
    (from Paycheck University)
  96. Tonight
    What does "weakened
    Pureness" even

    Mean? Shin splints from
    Sitting around,

    First long night of
    The second third.

    My people are
    Largely absent.
    (uncollected)
  97. Triumph
    Watching
    As the year bends

    The number
    Becomes a slogan

    Rapidly
    Losing its punch

    Failing
    Like a boomerang
    (uncollected)
  98. Twice
    Everyone's here on
    Business. Heidegger,

    Sartre, you were right,
    We have been thrown

    Into the world like so
    Many office holiday

    Parties. We attend,
    Beyond all choice.
    (from Twenty-two Poems)
  99. Untitled 11/20/06
    leave no trace
    the seven sins

    of moving
    life is had

    i side with
    the r-droppers

    so had to say
    how i feel
    (uncollected)
  100. Untitled 12/6/06
    "No longer
    Initiating."

    One thing has
    Happened,

    Once. Staring
    At the ceil-

    Ing, moving
    Away.
    (uncollected)
  101. Untitled 3/1/08
    Only when over
    Inspiration

    Cutlass
    Dark port

    Starer
    Meditated

    Canyon
    In which
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  102. Untitled 6/25/06
    Takes love to
    Be a lion.

    Many lifetimes,
    The ethics,

    Physical
    "Lion-hood"

    Mediates
    From high.
    (uncollected)
  103. Untitled 6/29/06
    The year Nina Simone passed
    You passed as well.

    Didn't know to mourn you,
    Should have done so in Montreal.

    That's where I remember hearing about Nina.
    I haven't been back to Montreal.

    Mourning, purpose—something waits
    To catch one off guard!
    (uncollected)
  104. Untitled 7/11/04
    mantra #2
    purity of slowness of speed

    immense slowness of speed
    absolute stillness of heart

    Listening to Melt-Banana
    looking in a mirror

    the heat of the eyes
    death metal rules
    (uncollected)
  105. Untitled 7/15/06
    Perfections of my short years,
    Dot matrix clouds

    In the Seattle sky,
    Science is a myth,

    Matter a labyrinth,
    Ariadne's thread

    Is your sweet words,
    Beautiful boy!
    (uncollected)
  106. Untitled 7/20/06
    ithaca ghosts
    trees

    rock
    baroque mountain

    the transaction
    lakes

    borderland
    sunset
    (uncollected)
  107. Volcano
    Like a viper
    Hardly works

    Sleeping through
    Politics

    Sleeps into
    Capoeira

    Is the dicking
    Unavoidable
    (from Twenty-six Poems)
  108. Wood
    Staring at the grain of the grain,
    Staring at the grain of the eye.

    A double action,
    A flat surface.

    Book, table,
    A process,

    A kiss,
    While elsewhere ...
    (from Paycheck University)
  109. Zero
    Neither inflated
    nor burned

    nor stretched
    nor broken.

    Held,
    presented,

    watched,
    cast.
    (uncollected)
  110. Zoroastrianism
    Some degree of wholeness
    (A song repeated)

    Speaks Dutch
    (Svalbard, Norway),

    Beaufort, Baffin,
    Greenland, Barents,

    Kara, Laptev,
    East Siberian.
    (from Paycheck University)