Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Laughing Matter

October rattles, dry stalks
clacking evening’s prattle.
I’m not even jealous of you, Time,
with your hand in my pocket.
Ink poured into a coffin.
The moon dressed in white satin.

The empire shambles along.
The gladiators are not all glad.
Here in the pang fortress
I hide among the angels’ fangs,
like gum being chewed on
but not spitten or swallowed.

Let me show you, before we go,
how to draw a word out of a sword.

Temple of Jupiter

Hello, Sybil. Old fortune teller.
Dusk in its blue taxi
weeps at your endless agony.
Poetry should be grief, not grievances.
I come to hear your prophecy—
how the world is shrinking
like your cage of immortality.

Show me how to convert the useless.
The graceless and wasteful.
The northern half of a southern laugh.
Reveal to us how to yearn so purely
we turn into hollow light.
“Please ask for assistance.”
Let me chew on your fat dreams.

The Missing Lynx

Uncle Google won’t tell me who I am.
Sandra Day O’Connor can’t remember our date.
Jimmy Hoffa waits for me in a windswept field.
Vladimir has accessed my precedent.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir cries
over my unvirtual reality.

There will never be another pure moment.
Ghosts outnumber us, demanding equality.
Daily have I dallied
and watched my options dwindle.
Now I kindle darkness.
Nothing burns like vanquished ambition.

When night arrives in starlit slippers,
be ready to dance like Mercury on a dime.

Troubadour’s Notebook

A gaggle of geese hails Hell’s Gate.
I snag a seat on the Select.
Off on a gig, I’ll miss my rut.

Thin women, jewel-ridden,
wear bedraggled faces.
I forget to tip the concierge.

Does the afternoon worry
about being drab?
Luck shines on the willing.

Three pelicans wing along.
I too, find friends.
I keep them in a vault of sky.

Fireworks for breakfast
and fortune for a nitecap.
In between—time whistles like me.

Young Glove

Alone in the waiting room. Saying
adios to a molar going south.

December gutters like a candle.
The markets test the bottom.

I climb down from the wheelhouse,
reluctantly, to take my medicine.

Up to my neck in sunset.
The glove is not so young anymore.

Ivan Arguelles grazes
on his talking grave.

Did you see the Ski Jump?
Fast, high, straight, true.

The new moon forklifts night,
giving us all the now time can handle.

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, artist, and impresario, who is best known as a poet. He is the author of 16 books of verse, including Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press, and Fake Lies from Fell Swoop. He received an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College, where he studied with Allen Ginsberg and also taught. Currently, Wright stages events at KGB Lit Bar, Howl Happening, and La MaMa ETC in NYC, in conjunction with his art and poetry journal, Live Mag! He is a regular contributor to American Book Review and ArtNexus. He is a Kathy Acker Award recipient and Puschcart Prize nominee for 2018.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.