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Joshua Vinzant



Some characters come back in
from the Green Night like the low brown
of the slow gray trains & sunken
salvage yards of Omaha.

Corn, caskets & Max.
A few things go horribly wrong. The beginning
becomes the ending &, dear reader,
there is no ending. The people come and go

and then not appear. Most are seen
from far away. Grain bins lean in to listen.
Max stumbles home with a penis
inked on his forehead.

Ominous belly-growls from deep
forest. A cold wind off many brown rivers.

I am writing this last.


Max holds the bones of a small child
in his mouth. Rattle, rattle, rattle him to sleep.

The bare white room. The grain bins
lean in to listen from the Green Night

of dark corn. The sun rise comes on
like a pink and purple barroom neon.

As if the moon ever really mattered,
Max lays down his toolbox heart.

Click here to listen to poet Matthew Graham read "Cornscape"

Max Gives a Poetry Reading

I was reading this poem down at the local old-folks home
about how death comes surely and painfully to us all

when I felt the strong desire to tell them my
taking-a-shit-on-acid story & my-friend-Moon-who-snorted-the-
biggest-mound-of-meth-I've-ever-seen-a-guy-snort story
                                                        & I questioned
         this desire

all the while still reading my poem about how death comes surely &
         painfully to us all
where I go on in the poem to say how death is just the fucking ace
         of spades no delusional heaven of harps and white & that
         even as the heart stops or the brain
takes the o-my-god snap of a tired aneurism there are some
         seconds there where we unfurl like
         white sheets on a summer clothesline
         wind holding us aloft
         before our gods

I could tell by some looks that the farmwives in the audience really

         got what I

I listened to the orchestra of oxygen tanks and thought of Moon
his own grace from a Les Paul's low E & how he played that guitar
         like he was
                    killing snakes

this took me back to my strong desire & to thinking of my getting-
couldn't-have-been-more-lovely-high-or-sober story

I saw a man staring off into the institutional peach space behind me &
Leslie Ann in the moonlight a gravel road I probably wouldn't do
different about that night even if I had the chance all my best stories
         involve a going up & a
                                            coming down
         I made a decision
I worked it into the poem about Leslie Ann & the gravel road
& even the moonlight just one line & I was pleased to see how well
         it went over after all
that business about unfurling & being held before a god

Click here to listen to poet Robert Wrigley read "Max Gives a Poetry Reading"


Buy the book here


Kim Addonizio 03-14-08

Agha Shahid Ali 09-14-07

Alice Anderson 11-16-08

Christianne Balk 07-27-07

Brian Barker 07-07-07

Polina Barskova 09-13-2010

Bruce Beasley 11-22-08

Nicky Beer 09-06-2010

Nicky Beer 08-22-08

Nathaniel Bellows 04-27-09

Ciaran Berry 01-25-09

Linda Bierds 08-31-07

Kristin Bock 08-17-09

Brian Brodeur 03-29-09

Michelle Boisseau 09-20-2010

Anne Caston 09-24-09

Nicole Cooley 04-05-09

Nicole Cuddeback 03-07-08

Elizabeth Biller Chapman 01-25-08

Steve Davenport 03-29-2010

Cortney Davis 05-03-09

Todd Davis 11-01-2010

Elizabeth Dodd 09-05-08

Karen Donovan 04-15-07

Mark Doty 04-11-08

Stephen Dunn 11-09-02010

Lynn Emanuel 08-30-2010

Lynnell Edwards 11-22-2010

B. H. Fairchild  09-04-09

Nick Flynn 10-04-2010

Carolyn Forche 09-21-07

James Galvin 02-23-07

Margaret Gibson 01-24-10

Mary Jo Firth Gillett 02-22-08

Dana Gioia 08-23-2010

Eugene Gloria 09-20-08

Louise Gluck 03-17-2010

Kevin Goodan 08-29-08

Matthew Graham 11-28-2010

Robert Grunst 11-16-07

Elizabeth Hadaway 06-15-07

Donald Hall 02-10-07

Jeff Hardin 08-10-07

Brooks Haxton 03-08-10

Seamus Heaney 09-11-09

Jamey Hecht 12-05-2010

Dennis Hinrichsen 11-02-07

Andrew Hudgins 11-21-09

Lynda Hull 05-20-07

Henry Israeli 01-23-2011

Major Jackson 05-02-2010

Mark Jarman 10-19-08

Rodney Jones 10-26-09

Barbara Jordan 02-02-09

Brigit Pegeen Kelly 10-12-08

Jane Kenyon 04-01-07

James Kimbrell 04-07-2010

James Kimbrell 01-19-07

Galway Kinnell 11-09-07

Yusef Komunyakaa 07-15-07
Phil Levine 06-03-07

Eleanor Lerman 11-02-08

Larry Levis 04-04-08

Larry Levis 02-08-2010

Sandy Longhorn 04-26-08

Corey Marks 10-03-07

Adrian Matejka 04-18-08

Davis McCombs 01-18-08

Michael McGriff 02-22-09

Jay Meek 01-16-2010

Anne Michaels 01-18-09
Nils Michals 02-29-08

Keith Montesano 12-12-2010

Malena Morling 05-12-08

Simone Muench 02-08-08

Sharon Olds 02-22-07

Sharon Olds 10-19-07

Michael Ondaatje 02-01-2010

Eric Pankey 09-07-07

Gregory Pardlo 06-22-07

Ed Pavlic 09-28-07

Oliver de la Paz 02-15-2010

Lucia Perillo 12-04-09

Donald Platt 02-15-08

Joshua Poteat 11-3-09

Amy Randolph 03-01-09

Robert Randolph 12-12-09

Adrienne Rich 04-20-2010

Joshua Robbins 11-16-2010

David Roderick 12-07-07

Pattiann Rogers 3-21-08

Steve Scafidi 10-09-09

Jim Schley 10-19-09

Tim Seibles 10-08-07

David Shumate 10-26-08

Dave Smith 04-10-09

Katherine Soniat 11-30-07

Gary Soto 03-23-07

Mark Sullivan 08-28-09

Frank Standford 10-25-2010

Mark Strand 02-22-2010

Mark Svenvold 03-23-09
Brian Turner 05-13-07

Tribute to Virginia Tech 04-24-07

Charles Harper Webb 10-12-07

C.K. Williams 05-25-07

Susan B.A. Somers-Willett 06-29-07

Charles Wright 01-27-07

Robert Wrigley 10-11-2010

Robert Wrigley 08-17-07