Poems: Stu Watson

Illo for Stu Watson's poems.

Metal Table Legs

a tale of treacherous route
through arid desert

we learned of it in a book
on errors in possible ways

the beleaguered man dies
drinking too much water

retracing pioneer paths
we discover small caves

dropping to pieces over years
bone deposits become bundles

raked by sidling animals
bones maundering their particles

as the zone converts to a tundra
of spewed analogous carbon

split off as faster burning
with a long-eyed-look to the future

where we’ll not find him prisoned
but drawn in frauds from pieces

stable standing pulp board pulls
false grain where legs are sure

Interior Androgyn

Undertake all actions as if attempting to build a flawless alibi, because when the crisis of your failure to adopt is finally revealed, it will be a great embarrassment to you if you are unable to subpoena the requisite number of witnesses to testify to the empirical truth of who you are. You turn around and are back in that street where once you spent your days in smoking fits afraid to be discovered by the garda, afraid because a foreigner and young, disposed to paranoia, used to bouts of sudden and remarkably clear fear—in this way sometimes everything is rehashed, discredited, and turned about in sweeps of mind unfastened from its focus by its need to be secure from all demand and in an ultimate evaporating void of totalizing consciousness of that which lies supremely outside time for us. They will all remember you but conveniently be unable to form any coherent opinion expressible in a language of desire that might convince the jury convened to determine whether you truly belong to your peers. And that is what is called for by this lonely judgment, a language of desire. Yet windlass lowered bucket memory comes back devoid of coins, the well is dry, we have so little liquid in our source, and so it’s come there’s nothing to debase or drink or wash with in this tantrum heat expelling all the moisture pent in us. This is what it is to face the scrutiny of an uncertain peerage, to loom on the edge like a shadow all-too-capable of making a false move and thereby marring the well-lit room’s impeccable and commonly maintained design, the way the people move as if to rhythms you can almost hear but miss, just cutting in too late, and you remain unable to discretely feel them seeing.
Stu Watson is a poet, musician, and teacher living in Brooklyn. He is founder and editor of Prelude, a Pushcart Prize–winning journal of poetry and criticism. His work has appeared or is forthcoming at Jacket 2, White Wall Review, Brooklyn Poets, and The Opiate. His performances include readings at the offices of Genius and Mashable, and at the Bowery Poetry Club. He is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. For more information visit stuwatson.net.

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