poem index

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

About this poet

Aaron Shurin is the author of Citizen (City Lights Publishers, 2011).

The Practice

Aaron Shurin

They mistook me for illumination — a revenant in walking shoes — so I gathered significance and spread text... stood beneath the seven cardinal points with arms upraised — practical telepathy — in a white paper suit like a flag of surrender, thunder at my back... I was an open man of the open streets — a burnished sieve of common purpose — scrawled on walls, thrashed cans and blasted caps for equivalence. I wasn't alone — the boulevards teemed with wiggly kids and mooing parents slow as boulders. In the Plaza Palabra on a green iron bench a grand senora suffered the odes of schoolboys and thugs — smiled behind an opal fan while they searched for words to match their tumultuous nights — and all words fit... In July — volubility — I hoarded cherries, catalogued their juices — were they Rainier, Blood Nut, Royal Ann, Squirrel Heart, Rosebud or Bing? —then swallowed them one by one like detonations...initiations...In a fever of taxonomy I followed a squadron of dragonflies right to the vanishing point...Incarnation is a provisional state, but stretches outward like noon. For practice, I wallowed and stretched...

From Citizen by Aaron Shurin. Copyright © 2012 by Aaron Shurin. Reprinted with permission of City Lights. All rights reserved.

From Citizen by Aaron Shurin. Copyright © 2012 by Aaron Shurin. Reprinted with permission of City Lights. All rights reserved.

Aaron Shurin

Aaron Shurin is the author of Citizen (City Lights Publishers, 2011).

by this poet

poem

He stamped his feet and opened the door, stood on the threshold, turned around. The desert light shrank his eyes, sun slammed his face—he almost lost his breath—blond shiny grasses, ring of distant mountains pinking in the haze, the scorched but somehow fertile earth—he wiped his brow—he couldn’t go in, he