‘What’ by James Schuyler


What’s in those pills?
After lunch and I can
hardly keep my eyes
open. Oh, for someone to
talk small talk with.
Even a dog would do.

Why are they hammering
iron outside? And what
is that generator whose
fierce hum comes in
the window? What is a
poem, anyway.

The daffodils, the heather
and the freesias all
speak to me. I speak
back, like St Francis
and the wolf of Gubbio.


Source: Schuyler, James. Collected Poems. New York: The Nooday Press, 1998. Print.

Teaching Literature in a Discredited Civilization

Wikipedia Poem, No. 496


houses on this dial paired  
with one who dials out 
and his block with many people on it 
one who moves verges on this pair  
one who dials out 
a broad bruised hand 
sitting on condescending they 
are many 
houses on a 5D model 
apartment dwellers wrong laugh condescending
cry to the condescending cry
to the moon instead of death and 5D avenues 
with many houses on a 5D model 
apartment dwellers 
in pairs 
one who dials out and is weaker for it
a wrestler wrestlers stolen long neck 
some on this block with many 5D vacancies
modeled after men crying under floorboards 
one who dials out 
pairs with many alcoholic halfway homes
just two letters 
condescending to 
          gutlight catholics 
5D model apartment dwellers with many missing hearts

Wikipedia Poem, No. 216

“Behind the mask / Is still a continental appreciation / Of what is fine, rarely appears and when it does is already / Dying on the breeze that brought it to the threshold / Of speech.” from John Ashbery, A Man of Words, 1975


it would happen if
some imaginable
i’m going down

sixth avenue they
need a bae just say
sentiment right cruel

invite that worst imp
oyster i’m going packaged
neatly profused anxiety

i have murdered you
a total party in the yard
a public father’s day card

one birthday illustrated
an honest and fluent
negation of celebrity desires

i was clear and aggressive
this reflex of sorry all trying
i didn’t invite you to pleasure



Wikipedia Poem, No. 58

“an investigation a piston someone investigating
the dark corners and brown plottings”


         The court doing made his 
soul wicked behavior 
met in the courtroom  Both had 
    tear to draw on 
         joined the child 
preparing to take plot orders
 in Syria
     only living men 
	who had 
  an investigation 
          a piston someone investigating  
          the dark corners 
      and brown plottings We 
          wicked his visa
had similar work and 
    mass execution 

  to the country
     into clouds