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Francis Raven


I am a graduate student in philosophy at Temple University. My first book of poems, Taste: Gastronomic Poems (Blazevox, 2005), and novel Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005) were recently published. Poems of mine have been published in Mudlark, Conundrum, Chain, Big Bridge, Bird Dog, Caffeine Destiny, and Can We Have Our Ball Back? among others. My critical work can be found in Jacket, Clamor, The Electronic Book Review, The Emergency Almanac, The Morning News, The Brooklyn Rail, Media and Culture, In These Times, The Fulcrum Annual, Rain Taxi, and Pavement Saw.



Burning Piles of Gifts


The iron removes itself twice:

from simple business shirts

then again from voice skins;

either one should have been half-priced.

I still would have accepted the gift.


However, I would have liked to know

just exactly what kind of friend you are.

Somehow the guilt of returning

those painted earrings and polka-dot prints

would have charged inside out

if I have known which sales you peruse.


Did you even think of me

when you threw your hand in the pile?

You bicker, haggle down the cost,

present each faux Etruscan casting

to individuals from disparate realms

who would never bump into each otherís

houses to pee or peek in the windows for

half a teaspoon of salt or vinegar

or search under the beds of each otherís hair.


But you donít understand set theory.

You left the iron on.



Flash Flood


It comes back to this place of spilled onions

Not because of layers, but because animals wonít eat them.


It comes back totally human, totally social,

With three fingers, maybe four, swirling soup ruckus.


Because you might have been here before

Doors with credit-card symbols affixed.


No one registers, man the canyons.  We may have

Entered an era where everyone knows his domain;


As if the signals on buses never misfired,

As if I shouldnít laugh at you for being,


Not to mention appearing Ö



Cocktail Hour


A piece of an almond cracker

falls into my open pocket

with a male beta

waiting to be a human rights activist

perhaps in China

but more probably right here in America:


informationís relation to knowledge

            and online forms

            to create our representatives.


The pocketís seams finally burst

fish dies

dried out

in Brooklyn summer.

he is given a proper burial


composed of Stravinsky

and a fistful of fake ruins

eliciting Victorian drinks

and forged prudence.

Cracker of course melts

into uneaten fish food

eventually ending

in the dead zone

below parties in New Orleans.



copyright © Francis Raven