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Mark Wallace

Mark Wallace is the author and editor of more than fifteen books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and essays. His most recent poetry collection is the book-length prose poem, Notes from the Center on Public Policy (Altered Scale Press, 2014). He lives in San Diego.

By This Poet

1

Deep Cover Costumes

Surely the body is made
                        of stranger 
                                    things than politics
                                                           can steal:
          the tangled
                                    residue of stars,
                                                the plastic
                                                bag and orange
          peels I kick past
                                    the bridge,
flaming nerves splayed
                        across ancient and forgotten
avenues, the stomach-heavy goodbye
                                    to others that always
          feels a limit
                                                on anyone’s remaining days
I see now
                        I really did
          believe that the stories
                                                           of languages breaking
                                    open the embedded
                                                           money source
                                                                      were the victory
                                                of changing grandeur
over the paltry measured
                                                ties misnamed time—
                                                                      I could never believe
          that people meant the counting,
the stacking, the definitions
                                    the dividing,
                                                           that those could be more
          than misunderstanding
                                                                      even when 
                                                                      burned in iron;
                        The world is simply not 
anything any of us
                                    say of it
our names are strange delusions
          pulling us back
                                    from a brink we are always
                        falling through—
                                                           it has no shape
                                                           no words
                                                           it is 
                                                           not a brink
                                                           we are not
                                                           anyone there is
                                                           no falling