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Poems

The Hunt of the Frail Stag

By Anselm Berrigan

She asked if I had faith in humanity

But the question was so dedicated

To its own tone there was no room

to answer

To not be inhospitable I insinuated I might

Have faith under other circumstances

In terms of the big watercolor & fossil fuels
But I was overheated in the early morning
& wanting to be back in the dribbling
passing as rain outside in Bushwick
Inside seemed like nowhere swallowing
Itself into Sunday until the trash rockers
Unleashed themselves & escorted me
Back to my hallway. He'd be 31 tomorrow.
After making & tearing up a list of names
Piling up the newspapers & fashioning
A reminder to ignore the terms by which
I usually engage the world completely
tomorrow for the rest of time, & to never
answer the phone again, I caved into stasis
Taking five by the lily white hand.
I take it the cosmos is each one's full extent
Bill said, It's not like saying I want a

bigger garage

ANSELM BERRIGAN will read from his work at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rust Belt Books, 202 Allen St. in Buffalo. Berrigan, the son of prominent "New York School" poets Ted Berrigan and Alice Notley, lived in Buffalo from 1989 to 1994 while completing his bachelor's degree in English and Journalism at the University at Buffalo. He is author of "Zero Star Hotel" (2002), "Some Notes on My Programming" (2006) and the forthcoming "Free Cell" (City Lights Books). He teaches writing in the Master of Fine Arts program at Bard College, and at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he is poetry editor of the Brooklyn Rail.

***

Awe: A Dialogue

By Dorothea Lasky

He was always distant.
No he wasn't

Yes he was, you told everyone.
Sometimes he wasn't

And what about poetry?
My friend said she wanted to kill herself because she couldn't write a poem

Well, what's it to you?
I understand, I want to kill myself now

And what about the real one over there. He loves you.
He never calls

Yes he does, when he can.
Not really, not with the obsessive quality he should

I love him.
Why?

He's sweet. He reminds me of the forest.
Of the fog on the forest in California?

No, not that, the other sort of forest
With the fires and that sort of thing?

Yes.
No, not like that, like the fog.

And what is the fog?
I don't know, the world's saliva

Do you really mean that?
Yes I do, I mean the spirit

And what about the things you've learned?
They mean nothing

And fire?
Nothing

And what of longing and the din of metal?
Those are occupiers. Leave me, I am free.

Then why are you still awake?
Freedom is not contentment. Freedom is only art.

And is love art?
No, art is nothing like fire

And how do you feel?
I am burning

And what is happening?
My spirit is ascending, my soul is trapped

And what is trapping it?
God. God and Awe.

DOROTHEA LASKY will read from her work at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rust Belt Books, 202 Allen St. She is the author of "AWE" (Wave Books, 2007) and "Tourmaline" (Transmission Press, 2008). Currently, she studies creativity at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Sunnyside Queens.

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