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Biography
Ed Pavlic’s second book of poems, LABORS LOST LEFT UNFINISHED, appeared in 2006. His other books are PARAPH OF BONE & OTHER KINDS OF BLUE which won The American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Award in 2001 and his study of African-American modernism, CROSSROADS MODERNISM (2002). His forthcoming books are WINNERS HAVE YET TO BE ANNOUNCED: A SONG FOR DONNY HATHAWAY, an epic poem centered in the life and music of soul singer Donny Hathaway (UGA Press, 2008) and a prose-poetic photo essay set on a dhow off the coast of Kenya, BUT HERE ARE SMALL CLEAR REFRACTIONS (Kwaini? Books, Nairobi). He lives in Athens, Georgia.

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POEMS

- by Ed Pavlic

CLOSING ADDRESS TO THE JURY   THE DEFENSE

RESTS: “FOUR PIECES IN THE FORM OF A PEAR”  

OR SIX CHARACTERS SEARCH  THE OBLITERATION    WITHOUT

REMORSE   FOR ALL THE COLORS IN THE SPECTRUM

 

  before you taste that avalanche

of saucers & trail Virginie Lebeau thru

la Glacerie & la Santé   past the executioner’s

square   thru the crowd gathered

around the corner from dawn   gait

metered   Gymnopediste   a pendulum swings

over a paper sack full of peach

pits   either carry your own hammer

or fill his pockets on the sly

 

with 27 new masks for mute wood    which

one are you?   the surly drunk or the empty Parisian

 

gutter   walk right past Man Ray 

in Montparnasse   hell bent

to show Kiki how to walk dead

ahead into winter rain   Lebeau’s cousin

   Narcisse   left hand astir

in his pants   cut in & said : you want trouble?

the trouble with trouble up here

in the village: it’s like if death fucked life

& gave birth to twins   throw in the outfits

 

& a drink on the house   & none anymore   can tell them apart

 

before you go & lick that piece of fallen

saucer   trail the avalanche past the sisters

who sell themselves to the sunrise

at the executions   ask him when   ask

the first time he found himself between a ghost & whore

at a hanging & when he began to lean   ever-slightly  

toward the noise   the new Trinity : “every time you hear a bell  

someone comes  someone pays & someone dies”   ask

Braque why he ran his hands thru the dead

 

scales of everything in ‘26   by then   they’d found

piles back of soiled drapes & read Lebeau’s undelivered

 

lecture on the contents of hand soap   “mostly sweat

& human waste. . .”   he knew nobody he wanted

to have the stack of pumice-stones   at auction  

they out-bid themselves on torn sheets

of failure & went home thinking clean   he knew no one  

peels a pocket-full

of over-ripe bananas just to risk the white

night sky won’t   one day soon 

   pull its blue fist from the mouth

 

of that little sun-brown boy   there at the keys   astraddle Falla’s lap

 

 

JURY DELIBERATIONS FOR THE LATE COMER

OR TRANSLATIONS: SELECTED QUERIES &

APHORISMS OF ISIDORO CAPDEPÓN FERNANDEZ

 

  if I take the five talc fingers

from curlicues lost on your belly   would you

please let me know if I should be liking

this?   webbed toes on demand wasn’t even

close   had to be two lead feet tangled in

shadows of white lilies at the bottom

of the pond  callused thumbs flick tin keys

& a spit-shined trance walks the salt-flat plane

of the bone-dry bay     save sunrises

 

easy-over & the rest of your impossible

 

tasks for fringe in the hole   the plaintive’s pockets  

filled with hot stones   earth that deep don’t stay

dry in the dark   lives crumbled & blown off

a hard-slapped palm   chin behind a shoulder

if you want pick up sticks & the nimble

night   the hollow rib-rhythm

of the concave dog in your dreams   stop leaning

the knee-high ladder on the empty moon   don’t pretend

the damn-fool shrieks from the cellar

 

won’t come again    no   the door’s not bowed beneath

 

steel-eyed raindrops washed off the last greenback

in a duck’s brain   “hurl’em if you got’em”

frozen effigies in the flypaper

pit   recall Argus   both arms of eyes asleep   origin 

of the phrase : bored to death   sheer the skin

swept of its curtains & watch the slate sky

turn thick as a leach hooked in the blood-hole

burn the burnt-blind eye   again & again

until it’s undaunted    the invisible    the shattered

 

thing you just had to know   would be round