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About this poet

Christian Hawkey is the author of Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010). He founded and now directs Pratt Institute’s MFA in Writing program. Hawkey lives in Brooklyn and Berlin.

Hour with One Hand Inserted in a Time of War

Christian Hawkey
We dug with our hands & hand shovels.
We dug with our spatulate feet.
& with torsos as our only circumference
we dug a maze. A maze of passageways:
Level Three the Maternity Ward, April
with knees on either side of her chin.
Some thoughts no wider than a chest.
Some thoughts no wider than a chest,
heaving. On Level Six a green parrot opened
its red beak & it reached us, seconds later,
as a roar. Our eyelashes cringed, & lashed back.
We named it the Level of Roaring Parrots
& turned back to our work, carrying sewage out
by moonlight, the buckets light each night
& getting lighter. A gas lamp flickered
beside a makeshift waterfall. Ceilings
of soil shook soil. Joo plucked her eyebrows
with her eyes closed, a kind of faith. &
from the mouth of an infant a cracked nipple
slipped—what minerals are my lips
or packed vegetation my eyes—black coals—
how darkness changes darknesses each time
I blink, & blink again, Level One’s filling 
with tear gas, swing through the Level of 
Eternal Foliage & seal it off—April you there, 
Yes, I’m here, October’s on the Level of Yellow Orioles
Warbling High in the Shadowy Summer Woods
& Gungjeong was last on the Level of Indentations
Left Behind by Falling Snow & should we
stand guard at the Level of One Hand Raised
to Block the Lemon Seed of the Sun
or should we push off, down the tunnels,
dig a hole in the side of a wall & wait?

From Citizen Of © 2007 by Christian Hawkey. Published by Wave Books, www.wavepoetry.com

Christian Hawkey

Christian Hawkey is the author of Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010). He founded and now directs Pratt Institute’s MFA in Writing program. Hawkey lives in Brooklyn and Berlin.

by this poet

poem

must balance; this risk; a tablet; peak plasma; the first alphabet;
with the clinical need; finger-sized; it makes sense; the fingers;
were the first; to make sense; this risk; 31 letters; the flower-visiting species;
as opposed to; dung-feeding; the terminal phase; and the;
distribution phase;

poem
At the time of his seeing a hole opened—a pocket opened—
and left a space. A string of numbers plummeted 
through it. They were cold numbers. 
They were pearls.

And though they were cold the light they cast was warm,
and though they were pearls he thought they were eyes.
They blinked. He blinked back.
Anything