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About this poet

Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and earned his BA from Hampshire College, where he studied poetry and the art of the book. He is the author of five books of poetry: Things Are Happening (1998); Something I Expected To Be Different (2001); Nice Hat. Thanks. (2002), written with Matthew Rohrer; Your Time Has Come (2004), and most recently, Shake (Wave Books, 2006).

He has numerous books of translation, including the forthcoming Five Meters of Poems by Carlos Oquendo de Amat, and Poker by Tomaž Šalamun (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003) which was a finalist for the PEN Poetry in Translation Award. He is also an editor at Wave Books, a poetry press based in Seattle and New York.

Untitled Poem [Unslide the door]

Joshua Beckman

Unslide the door,
uncap the lazy little coffee cup.
The pasty people must be part of the dinner.
And a city turns its incapacity in,
foolish city. She was naked
and her halo all crushed against
the pillow while she slept, but I
didn’t care. Wake and totter.
Place a hand over your mouth,
a hand over another.
A killing pain, a bag all organized,
an inch of skin along your leg.
It’s like they kept making babies
and stopped making baby whistles.
Doable, yes, but here they
teach us something different.
It’s a battery. It’s a garden.
The glass box in which the lettuce grew
was broken by nasty raccoons
and we turned the other cheek.
The sun does rise and melt the frost,
the frost in little drops does fill
the empty lettuce, and in this way
the world is truly nourished.
No incredible silence, no
intangible calorie, just
bad raccoon in a good world.
Just coverless table and
silent drape awaiting breakfast.
Imagine how mean people
can be in dreams, and how
kind sleeping seems later.

Untitled Poem [Unslide the door] by Joshua Beckman. From Shake, © 2006 by Joshua Beckman, published by Wave Books.

Untitled Poem [Unslide the door] by Joshua Beckman. From Shake, © 2006 by Joshua Beckman, published by Wave Books.

Joshua Beckman

Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and earned his BA

by this poet

poem
Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Townsville,
Belém, Durban, Lima, Xai-Xai planes
with wingspans big as high schools
eight hundred nine hundred tons a piece
gone like pollen, cumulus cirrus
altostratus nimbostratus people getting skinny
just trying to lose weight and the sky
the biggest thing anyone ever thought of
poem
In Colorado, In Oregon, upon	
each beloved fork, a birthday is celebrated.
I miss each and every one of my friends.
I believe in getting something for nothing.
Push the chair, and what I can tell you 
with almost complete certainty
is that the chair won't mind.
And beyond hope,
I expect it is like this
poem
Seagulls beside ferry boat.
They're people-watching.