poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Born in 1963, poet Joshua Weiner is the author of three poetry collections: The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University Of Chicago Press, 2013), From the Book of Giants (University of Chicago Press, 2006), and The World's Room (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

He is the recipient of a 2002 Whiting Writer's Award and the 2003-2004 Rome Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; he has also held the Witter Bynner Fellowship at the Library of Congress and a residency fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has received an Academy of American Poets Prize, an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the Discovery/The Nation Award, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the PEN New England Discovery Award, the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation, and grants from the Illinois Arts Council.

He is professor of English at the University of Maryland and lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

 

Mongrel Death Blues

Joshua Weiner
What's that behind my back?
What's that gnawing behind my back?

It sounds like a dog crunching bones for marrow.
Bones here so old, the sun's dried up the marrow.
What kind of dog splinters bone like that?

Don't turn around, I hear it getting louder.
Don't turn, don't turn, its growl is getting louder.
Oh, don't you growl at me, nappy rabid dog.

My joints may be cracking, but my bones ain't buried yet.
I said, my skeleton is talking, but my bones ain't buried yet.
Hear my belly growling? I'm hungrier than I've ever been.

Are you baring pearly whites? I can almost smell your mongrel breath.
Yes, your pearlies, they are snapping, and I can smell your stinking breath.
I'd turn around and pet you, but I've given up on pets.

I am reaching for a stone.

I swear my aim is sharp.
I swear my arm is strong.

It's growing dark, but I won't miss.
It's darker now, but I won't miss.
O shine down moonlight, my whole life has led to this.

From The World's Room by Joshua Weiner, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Weiner. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

From The World's Room by Joshua Weiner, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Weiner. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Joshua Weiner

Joshua Weiner

Born in 1963, poet Joshua Weiner is the author of three poetry collections, including The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University Of Chicago Press, 2013).

by this poet

poem
Scared boy, he even fled a cloud
reminding him of what might happen

when his father returned from sea,
wasted, to find him perhaps again

locked out in the cold, waiting
for other drinkers to come home

(his mother, her lover)--the catalysis
of routine violence passing close

like a storm cloud insisting rain;
poem
When I sing to you I am alone these days 
               and can't believe it, as if the stars

--while gazing up at them--just shut off.
               Astonished:

I search out the one light, brightest light
               in the night sky, but find

I cannot find it without weaker lights to guide me
poem

If you are sitting in an exit row please identify yourself to a crew member to allow for reseating if you lack the ability to read, speak, or understand the language, or the graphic form, or the ability to understand oral crew commands in the language specified.