Monday, November 25, 2013

Web Exclusive: Two poems by Sean Singer

















Apotheosis of Sonny Clark


First, tar’s vinegar warmth, euphoria & nodding off.

Followed by Automat cheeseburgers and vanilla milkshake.


The only black kid in the school picture,

Faraway swim look in the thread of his eye.


Japanese love Cool Struttin’—

White legs, black A-line, Fifth Avenue.


As demons douse metallic nodules

A stylus pins Cole Porter in a Pullman quarter.


What seems like a right hand with blue tabulae

Is actually Sonny Clark waking up from his vomit


When he sees what he’s leaving behind

Only the right chord is perfect labor


Everything with Sonny Clark is weakness.

He’s a city and a forest infolded quill


Tranquilized with black lung and tar black,

The most aristocratic color of all.

Mountainous Black Garden

What good is intelligence if you cannot discover a useful melancholy?”
—Akutagawa Ryonosuke
Reading grapefruit, prey, and fake grief.
Put on “Fleurette Africaine” and her arm
Drapes onto steel fibers along nerves.
Her love fills the zinc bottle of its own body.
Peel me a woody bass, wick the piano away
From the sweet peak of Duke’s pomade.
Black can be quiet and contain the whole thing.
What is apart and not hard and hard and not apart?


About the Poet:

Sean Singer’s first book Discography won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He has also published two chapbooks, Passport and Keep Right On Playing Through the Mirror Over the Water, both with Beard of Bees Press and is the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

His work has recently appeared in Memorious, Pleiades, Souwester, Iowa Review, New England Review, and Salmagundi. He has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Rutgers-Newark. He lives in Harlem, New York City.



1 comment:

  1. The third stanza of "Mountainous Black Garden" is a work of genius. The sounds tell the same story as the words. It is amazing that a person can get so complete and complex a meaning into these few syllables.