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Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 25 July 2002

... Hyper-Berceuse: 3 a.m. Imagine in all the debris of space The countless trade names Jugurtha Tuwolomne Chert-Farms Some of these belong to you Can you tell which ones Each has its own sequence of microtones Together they make up a kind of tune Your tune The ceiling and walls are star maps Breathing, alive Those aren’t stars, darling That’s yo ...

A Wine Tale

August Kleinzahler, 12 February 2009

... For Lee Harwood Behind the château, its celebrated ‘candle-snuffer’ towers and Gothic traceries engraved and worn proudly on the labels of how many bottles of Pinot and Bourgogne, the old caretaker sleeps in the shadow of the cistern, its wood sweating and frayed, the autumnal, late afternoon light bringing to this rustic tableau the kind of orange-tinted, unworldly radiance he would remember from his childhood, viewing scenes from Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood in the family attic, having stolen off with his big sister’s cherished stereoscope ...
... I Rain streams from the stucco parapets of the Boomerang Academy well after midnight, early autumn, along this deserted stretch of Broadway between the railyard and boarded-up emporium where Aunt Peg got her trousseau, Dolores too, in the year-aught-something at the bottom-of-the-world. And it roars in the canopy of leaves high above the sedate brick offices of the law and publishing firms nearby, pouring from roof gutters down on the walkways and out to the street, empty of cars but for one ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 8 March 2001

... The Installation Until it all turned into a waxworks The lot of them In the same old rooms Same lamps, chairs, wainscoting The piano still there, out of tune Sheet music under the seat A period tableau, late ‘50s But off, somehow, dark A hint of menace in the shadows It could almost be something out of Kienholz But eastern, domestic Taped voices ...

Closing It Down on the Palisades

August Kleinzahler, 25 February 2010

... 1: September Kettles, rain hats – the small, unopened bottle of Angostura bitters, its label stained and faded with the years. The breeze is doing something in the leaves it hasn’t been, not at this hour. The light, as well. Early yet for the cicadas, their gathering rush and ebb. Too cool, the sun not high enough. A cardinal darting among the shadows in back of the yard, only at this hour and again at dusk ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 20 June 2013

... all ardour, woundedness and hope. How would I not have adored you? And you … and you … ‘Dear August …’ Oh, no I can’t, please … The carnage … Drifts of blue aerogrammes: I tried phoning last night … If I could somehow make a single balloon payment to rid myself of all this, or with a click, like Adobe Reader downloads: Clear List Worse still ...

Uttar Pradesh

August Kleinzahler, 9 March 1995

... You were dozing over Uttar Pradesh well after the shadows of Annapurna swept across the big plane’s starboard wing, dreaming a peevish little dream of Stinky Phil, your playground tormentor from fifty years before, his red earmuffs and curious cigar voice vivid as the tapioca you used to gag on at the end of Thursday lunch, when the captain’s serene, patriarchal voice suggested you buckle up, moments before the plane jumped then yawed in an air-pocket and dropped five hundred feet ...

Snow in North Jersey

August Kleinzahler, 22 February 1996

... Snow is falling along the Boulevard and its little cemeteries hugged by transmission shops and on the stone bear in the park and the WWI monument, making a crust on the soldier with his chinstrap and bayonet It’s blowing in from the west over the low hills and meadowlands swirling past the giant cracking stills that flare all night along the Turn ...


August Kleinzahler, 21 June 2007

... You’d figure the hawk for an isolate thing, commanding the empyrean, taking his ease in the thermals and wind until that retinal flick, the plunge and shriek – cruelly perfect at what he is. With crepe myrtle igniting the streets and flowering pansy underfoot I’d get out there just after dawn each day, before the sun made it over the mesquite and honey locust ...

The Art Farm

August Kleinzahler, 14 January 2002

... Another season comes to a close. Sunflowers nod, the mallards grow restive and hoarfrost sparkles on the lawns well into morning. After some discussion, the badminton nets finally come down. For one last time the cleaning ladies strip off the bedclothes of the week’s guest artist and do what they can with the wine stains. – Jerk, they say to themselves, village girls with almost no experience of art ...

Shoot the Freak

August Kleinzahler, 17 July 2008

... Shoot the freak Cold wind, boardwalk nearly empty You know you wanna A cluster of hip-hop Lubavitch punks, shirt tails out, talking tough You shoot him he don’t shoot back Keeper-flatties thrashing in buckets, out there on the pier Shoot the freakin’ freak A regular family of man out there, fishing for fluke and blues in that wind How you gonna ...
... The soppressata fée outside of Califano’s with the swept back ’do and blood on her smock grabs a quick smoke on the sidewalk, tosses it in the gutter then sucks back her lips till they smack, getting her lipstick right.                            Fierce little thing ... My freight elevator makes a distant whump then squeals to a stop on one of the floors back there behind my left ventricle ...

The Hotel Oneira

August Kleinzahler, 22 March 2012

... That was heavy freight moved through last night, and has been moving through since I’m back, settled in again by the Hudson at the Hotel Oneira: maps on the walls, shelves of blue and white Pelicans, multiple editions of the one epistolary novel by K., the curios – my sediment, you might say, my spattle trail. Look at them down there by the ferry slip, the bridal party, organza, chiffon and lace, beside themselves, being wonderful, desperately wonderful, a pastel foam ...


August Kleinzahler, 20 January 2011

... I The tank column moves east in the snow. You cannot hear them at this remove, High above and at an oblique angle: The ‘bird’s-eye view’, much favoured by mapmakers. There are no birds, long gone to the south. The sky is empty and will remain so for months, Excepting attack planes and bombers, Nowhere in evidence this evening. Nothing aloft In this weather ...

Lo Mein

August Kleinzahler, 15 December 2011

... You were still only a child, I, 19, the age of your eldest boy now. It was the evening of the Marijuana Caper your eyes first met mine at the China Chalet. I believe it would have been spring, early, but days clearly lengthening, a patch of ice maybe here or there, pussy willow catkins … We nearly bought it twice that evening, my father swerving left and right, Mother, beside him, silent, stiff with fright ...

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