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Spencer Selby 

Spencer Selby is the author of eight poetry books, three compilations of visual work and a study of film noir. He coordinated The Canessa Park Reading Series for six years and created The List of Experimental Poetry/Art Magazines in 1993. He lives in Oakland, California.



The source is not hard to find. 
Someone yawns, then adjusts 
focus to youth buried with blanket 
that was me in a revelation. I toss 
and turn in the most awkward 
position, with street noise joining 
steps I took to raise awareness. So 
unreal I can hear orchestra 
rehearse pronoun. A crowd gathers 
and violins screech like brakes of a 
truck overloaded. Expensive 
microphone and platform beneath. 
Delusion attuned to kinship, 
drunk on blood memories spilling 
from an actor's face. Bits of 
dialogue contain a virus 
threatening my name. The source 
is not hard to find, now that both 
of us are stuck in an elevator 
between floors furnished by 
assurance on the way down.


Wave by wave mentioned
hope left woman as poet
did shore communication

Diving there one piece goes 
with oceanic in body like a
record of leisure wasted

Other concerns deliberate
water flow against house
whose foundation is angry

Could it be the occupant
admits unfortunate labeling
both detours with pride?


Roof crocus gurgling
and pages keep flooding

Novel kinds of growth
fruit of past experiment
drawn from a certain
negative extreme

Bitter self-confession
as diversion feeling
no effect below
on top floor

Basic room in middle
with false window
and a door that only
opens from the inside

Tapestry reduced
by endless waiting
for the wind to change

for barrage to cease
and sky above to be
accommodated through
a breach in my defense

Fruit of past experiment
from the inside feeling
no effect false window
and a door reduced

by logic I interrupt
to make another call


With cold precision each movement
Like thieves lifting jewels from a tomb

Gold from a vault rusty and vague
Whose trace alone remains close

To strange emotion more than any art
Where elsewhere is my perfect crime

Arrange payoff even at a loss
To forsake the world and be at rest

To dissolve, to ridicule, to reject
Or drive thy sad countenance away

For lovers on the verge of parting
Curse and throw the album down

Weary with thinking, doze upon thought
Of kisses decomposing in your mouth

I said in the beginning, did I not?
It's better dead than this awkward thing

By classic pardon cast the frozen mind
To earth in whose care belongs a name

I dare not speak but somehow know
Will live again as water running

Past the grave of one who appreciates
How long I can hold my breath







copyright Spencer Selby