Rae Armantrout: 4 poems

  Rae Armantrout

  4 poems
 

 
  JPR 08

 Hung
“Fall / in love / with your solitude.”
says the Instagram poet
with 1.6 million
followers.

Maybe it was
“Eat your hunger.”

                   

You’re “excited to see”
how you will withstand
the coming cold and dark.

                   

To withstand.
To hang around.
To hang around
with.
To withdraw.
To wither.

                   

“Who are you talking to?”

                   

To this vine
hung with wrinkled
purple bladders.

 Jackpot
Magic’s the art
of misdirection. No,
that’s money.

“Let your children go
to the movies,”
the poet said,

but what about this:
a troupe of magicians
expose bank fraud

and universal digital surveillance
as the work of one
father-son duo

long believed dead,
but, actually, holed up
in a casino

in Macao?

Entertainment’s pricey now.

But you are worth your weight
in cherry-hibiscus gummy

pandas

 Intervals
This buzz, this tickle
could be contentment.

Identical
photons jostle.

Even displacement
feels pleasant.

                   

Too faded to identify,
a flag

snaps to attention

on a pole dwarfed
by large cedars.

                   

I whisper “milieu”?
as I pull

a cup
from the cupboard.

A human
can surprise herself.

                   

Short phrases stray
to different ends,

begin again
from the same spot:

strings of companion
interims

that music makes
because life won’t —

                            or won’t quite.

 Since

    1

We snap shots while
one baby performs
her fake cough

and the other
slaps the floor
insistently;

one man is slumped
head down
at the supermarket door

while another spins wildly,
stiff arms out,
index fingers pointed
to the parking lot
concrete.

    2

How long can I trade
self-hatred
for irony?

Just a bit longer.
 

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