POEMS: Seth Landman

What’s Wrong

They don’t teach us to remember faces
Your look just passes into memory
I can hear the sound derived from the speed
I haven’t seen your face for days I think
I made a choice to make the fog make me
Refer back to something I was seeing
So I chose to be where I was living
Part of me pulls the city down
Falling from there is a nightmare I keep
Understanding I’m not thinking clearly
Or part of me is dizzy from the height
My mood climbs to the top of the landscape
It’s the relationship of everything
You love but it doesn’t seem to change you

Joke of the Night

The birds outside my window
don’t seem to be planning for the future.

It’s a beautiful song, and I can’t sleep.
I’m supposed to be transcribing dreams,

but whatever happened goes away
before I can write it down, and anyway, I don’t know

how to transcribe the real world
of which dreams are, of course, a part.

Still, you know my brain knows better.
Before this there was a midnight moonbeam,

and before that there was everything in the world
at the wrong time. In the dark I heard

a hilarious bird. I wanted to tell you about it,
but you were everyone I know. The server was down,

or something. I don’t have a plan, but thanks
for asking, friend. To be honest, I’m putting my attention

elsewhere. I’m letting it lie. I have heard this suggestion
that civilization plus something, some as-yet-undetermined variable,

might make our lives more meaningful,
and I’m sitting here nodding, like, call me

when you find it. Maybe the birds outside my window
are in service of keeping me awake. They do this thing

where they all call each other the same
exact name, and so where humanity is concerned,

not to mention democracy for crying out loud,
in my estimation they have clearly passed us by.

What do the stars say in constellation and how
does that help me contend with getting older.

The march of time is slow, but unstoppable.
I’m probably repeating myself, but at least I’m not repeating

somebody else. Just before I started writing this poem,
I was thinking how there’s no poem in me right now,

but sometimes you start writing and there it is.
When it’s all over, you’ll see you were dreaming.

If only you could access what you learned
in there. It’s hardest to sleep when you’re sleeping.

Let me revise that. When you’re trying.
It is trying I meant to say.


Seth Landman has two collections of poems, Sign You Were Mistaken (Factory Hollow, 2013)
and Confidence (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). He lives in Northampton, MA and
watches a ton of basketball games with friends.



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