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About this poet

Alex Lemon is the author of four poetry collections: The Wish Book (Milkweed Editions, 2014), Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions, 2010), Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions, 2008), and Mosquito (Tin House Books, 2006). He’s also the author of two memoirs: Feverland: A Memoir in Shards (Milkweed Editions, 2017) and Happy: A Memoir (Scribner, 2009).

He is the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and a Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, as well as fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lemon is the editor-at-large at Saturnalia Books, the poetry editor for descant, and a senior prose editor at Tupelo Quarterly. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Ashland University and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, where he lives.


Bibliography

Poetry

The Wish Book (Milkweed Editions, 2014)
Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions, 2010)
Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions, 2008)
Mosquito (Tin House Books, 2006)

Nonfiction

Feverland: A Memoir in Shards (Milkweed Editions, 2017)
Happy: A Memoir (Scribner, 2009)

Beautification Campaign

Liposuction for everyone who can recite
the Pledge of Allegiance! Lip gloss, Lee
press-On Nails arrive weekly in the mail.
The turkey is always fat free & the cottage
cheese is nothing but protein. Helicopters
drop leaflets, but in truth, no one understands
the food pyramid. & so I’m inconsolable—
I can’t get rid of these love handles. The woman
in the radio tells me to eat more hearts
of palm but I don’t know
what they look like. Bundles of skin-
tight tracksuits are thrown on each stop
like the morning paper & I think gastric
bypass is the answer for me. I stay up late
& cut out coupons for Botox injections,
but there’s no money left, so I whiten
my teeth with bleach. I toss & turn in the middle
of the night, listening to Wide-Awake Sammy
riffle through the trash outside. He doesn’t sleep
& I can’t stop thinking about my love
handles. When I turn the kitchen light on,
I can see him out there—filling his bag
with recyclables, his belly with whatever drops
from the half-empty cans. At the table, I fondle
my love handles & tell the cat that I’m not afraid
of science. Cut ‘em right off me & feed ‘em
to the dogs. But I have to admit, I’ve been
disappointed—you can’t taste the range
in those free-range hogs. I say let all of the beef
be beef fed. I want night vision
after eating a plate of salmon. Let the teats
of cows drip with the sweetest honey. I want
my baby spinach made with real, 100% baby.

Copyright © 2010 Alex Lemon. “Beautification Campaign” originally appeared in Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions, 2010). Reprinted with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2010 Alex Lemon. “Beautification Campaign” originally appeared in Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions, 2010). Reprinted with permission of the author.

 

Alex Lemon

Alex Lemon is the author of four poetry collections: The Wish Book (Milkweed Editions, 2014), Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions, 2010), Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions, 2008), and Mosquito (Tin House Books, 2006).

by this poet

poem
MRI

An old man is playing fiddle in my head.
At least that’s what the doctor says,
pointing, as he holds my MRI to the light.

He must be eating the same hotdogs
my nephew microwaves. My nephew sees
Bob the Builder everywhere—smiling

in sauerkraut, sawing in the drifting sky.

poem

The entire world wants
To pretend to be a foreigner
In a big box store & wander
The aisles shouting, endlessly—
But I am pretty sure that today
Is my day to not just be a guy
But to be the guy. A baby grows 
In each drawer of the million

poem

       It is very
       Common
              To have

       A cave within us
              To hide

       Away in when it all
       Seems hopeless. To cry

              Tears of mostly blood.

       To feed on the day-
              Dream in