poem index

About this poet

J. Michael Martinez was born and raised in Greeley, CO. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and received an M.F.A. from George Mason University.

His poems have appeared in New American Writing, Five Fingers Review, The Colorado Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others, and the anthology Junta: Avant-Garde Latino/a Writing. He is the recipient of the 2006 Five Fingers Review Poetry Prize and is co-editor and co-founder of Breach Press.

In 2009, Martinez's collection Heredities was selected by Juan Felipe Herrera for the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award, and will be published by Louisiana State University Press.

About his work, Herrera wrote: "Heredities breaks away from four decades of inquiry into cultural identity. Martinez's exhilarating descent into the unspoken—lit by metaphysical investigations, physiological charts, and meta-translations of Hernán Cortés's accounts of his conquests—gives voice to a dismembered continental body buried long ago. This body, though flayed and fractured, rises and sings."

Martinez is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Meister Eckhart's Sermon on Flowers and the Philosopher's Reply

J. Michael Martinez
A hollowed singularity exists in flowers 
like pathos in a dandelion: 
an eddy of fate, degreeless, 

silvering through memory.
A scabbed consonant departing
the sentence: locust petal, bromeliad, 

a surfacing shame, lightless, beyond hearing.
Solitary, the clock circumvents sound
and a horse importunes 

a wasp bowing before significance.


                     ●


It is in fact doubtless a wasp bows before significance
degreeless in a dandelion.

It also stands to reason that, in a clock, locusts circumvent memory 
in order to depart through fate.

And anyone can see that singularity exists lightless
like an eddy of pathos surfacing beyond hearing.

In conclusion, however solitary 
(and you know this as well as I), 

a consonant will always 
depart the sentence before shamed by a horse.

From Heredities: Poems. Copyright © 2010 by J. Michael Martinez. Used with permission of Louisiana University Press.

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez was born and raised in Greeley, CO. He is

by this poet

poem

               as the meat
               within the shell

as the shell before the caw

a bleached weed
               a fig
dusted to sweet the skin

egg albumen of peacock
               butterfly

held to the ivory of oxen hoof
               

poem

as light
               shaped by trajectory.

a wind settles in the body.
Echécatl the breath, the flint & spark.
the house of prayers.

I am

when sounds exchange questions
when light enters the lung
when given

the noun:                a

poem

X.X.,


Someday, across glacier, a green horse will ride toward you; despite steam rising from heavy breath, you'll touch its snout.

When you paired a person's gait to signature, what lilt signed your step? What tautology, what tense was this body's hypothesis?

Do you remember your mother's