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Juliy 1, 2008 The Arsenal, Central Park, New York City From the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

Born in Philadelphia in 1968, Gregory Pardlo's first book, Totem, received the American Poetry Review/ Honickman Prize in 2007. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewBoston ReviewCallalooGulf CoastHarvard ReviewThe NationPloughsharesTin House, and Best American Poetry 2010, as well as several anthologies including Angles of Ascent, the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a fellowship in translation from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received other fellowships from the New York Times, the MacDowell Colony, the Lotos Club Foundation and Cave Canem. He is an Associate Editor of Callaloo, and his second collection, Digest, is forthcoming from Four Way Books.

Title It Shotgun Wound

Gregory Pardlo
for Jackson Pollack

on the bar of the Cedar Tavern: the shot 
that got spilled after you'd taken several rounds,
making the oak bar report 
your vigor each time with the glass 
emptied of its mayhem. 
Before the impulse could travel its course 
to spark your hand reaching again for the glass, 
Creeley's clumsy ebullience, bounding to the bar, 
spilled the bitter dose. As he apologized, 
you were thinking there's no such thing 
as accident. A moment ago, you were ready 
to put a nickel in the Wurlitzer and dance your way 
back to Easthampton. But now, you took him 
by the shoulders, gripped him like the bathroom door 
you once ripped from its hinges because of the mirror on it. 
You wanted to discipline him, instruct him in 
the logic of charged particles, make Creeley feel 
the stray electron as he may have 
when his eyeball caught pixied windshield 
as an infant. If you had known 
that child's long months stifling tears 
for fear of aggravating the wound, 
you would have marveled how he stored his grief 
as you marveled now his standing up to your bully- 
face. Everyone thought you knew each other, 
how you looked just then in one another's arms.

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From Totem, published by the American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2007 by Gregory Pardlo. Used with permission.

From Totem, published by the American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2007 by Gregory Pardlo. Used with permission.

Gregory Pardlo

Born in Philadelphia in 1968, Gregory Pardlo's first book, Totem, received the American Poetry Review/ Honickman Prize in 2007. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewBoston ReviewCallalooGulf CoastHarvard ReviewThe NationPloughsharesTin House, and Best American Poetry 2010, as well as several anthologies including Angles of Ascent, the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry.

by this poet

poem

                       

                         I found the scrap of City Paper
classified, the 1-900 number and photos
like candidates there, in love’s voting machine.

Discomfort station. No pissoir. Hothouse maybe for
a fourteenth-year sprig: me. Light box
to slideshow the

poem
                  Plow-piled snow shrouded 
         in shadow from the abbreviating sun, snow 
frosted with the exhaust of tour buses. Pigeons shift in congress. 
                  Sun glints windshields & chrome 
         like cotton blooms in the monitors. Surveillance here is catholic. 

From cornices
poem
Paul Green
Of course I know the story of the scorpion
and the frog. I've known Biggers all my life.
I’ve cast down my buckets where I've
stood with them, shoulder to shoulder, our bodies
bent like double helices in the fields. And
when the mob came for Dick didn’t I sit anyways
outside his quarters all