9 Enigmatic Quatrains / 3 Stealth Couplets


                                   the feminine subject &/or 
                                   dispossession &/or
                                   the posthuman &/or
                                   are(n’t) we all postracial yet? &/or

                                   the lure of technocracy &/or
                                   freedom to fail &/or
                                   an imaginary racism &/or
                                   the fanaticism of the apocalypse &/or

                                   a biography of ordinary man &/or
                                   the feminine subject &/or
                                   general theory of victims &/or
                                   intellectuals and power &/or

                                   the insurrection of the victim &/or
                                   classification struggles



                                   clint eastwood’s america &/or
                                   spike lee’s america &/or
                                   alfred hitchcock’s america &/or
                                   steven spielberg’s america &/or

                                   martin scorsese’s america &/or
                                   foucault now &/or
                                   derrida now &/or
                                   rancière now &/or

                                   nancy now &/or
                                   xenofeminism &/or
                                   narcocapitalism &/or
                                   why philosophize? &/or

                                   playstation dream world &/or
                                   persons and things



                                   human dignity &/or
                                   dream notes &/or
                                   abstracts and brief chronicles of the time &/or
                                   the feminine subject &/or

                                   old women in bloom &/or
                                   the art of freedom &/or
                                   eve escapes &/or
                                   zero’s neighbor &/or

                                   philosophical introductions &/or
                                   five approaches to communicative reason &/or
                                   the triumph of religion &/or
                                   networks of outrage and hope &/or

                                   search engine society &/or
                                   a history of silence

Copyright © 2021 by Joan Retallack. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 30, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

I pry open the files, still packed
        with liquor & strange brine.

Midnight seeps from the cracks
        slow pulp of arithmetic. Four or five

or six at a time, the white men draw
        along the Gordonsville Road, on foot

or on horseback, clustered close—
        each man counting up his hours, the knife

of each man’s tongue at the hinge
        of his own mouth. For ninety-three years

& every time I slip away to read
        those white men line the roadway

secreting themselves in the night air
        feeding & breathing in their private

column. Why belly up to their pay stubs
        scraping my teeth on the chipped flat

of each page? This dim drink only blights me
        but I do it.

Copyright © 2020 by Kiki Petrosino. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 4, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

WHEREAS when offered an apology I watch each movement the shoulders
                        high or folding, tilt of the head both eyes down or straight through
                        me, I listen for cracks in knuckles or in the word choice, what is it
                        that I want? To feel and mind you I feel from the senses—I read
                        each muscle, I ask the strength of the gesture to move like a poem.
                        Expectation’s a terse arm-fold, a failing noun-thing
                        I scold myself in the mirror for holding.

                        Because I learn from young poets. One sends me new work spotted
                        with salt crystals she metaphors as her tears. I feel her phrases,
                        “I say,” and “Understand me,” and “I wonder.”

                        Pages are cavernous places, white at entrance, black in absorption.

                        If I’m transformed by language, I am often
                        crouched in footnote or blazing in title.
                        Where in the body do I begin;

From WHEREAS. Copyright © 2017 by Layli Long Soldier. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.