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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 26, 2018.
About this Poem 

“After withdrawing from a PhD program, I worked a variety of jobs: library security guard, high school English teacher, flower delivery driver, etc. During my many hours of solitude delivering flowers, contemplating my future, I recited and revised new lines of poetry out loud, recording them on my phone. ‘Death to Paint Us’ is one such poem.”
—J. Michael Martinez

Death to Paint Us

there is always 
one more death
to paint us
 
an ochre
without axle
aiming us like 
 
a sunflower  
down a path
a harp once followed
 
to still the scythe
before losing 
love against itself

Copyright © 2018 by J. Michael Martinez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 26, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by J. Michael Martinez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 26, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez's collection Heredities was selected by Juan Felipe Herrera for the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award and was published by Louisiana State University Press.

by this poet

poem

Imagine—in front of us—they silently pass. And they believe unrelated
   objects are machines
for recognizing the human. And, again, we are no longer interruptions.

Imagine—in front of us—the beginning is not a study. And they believe
   the cicada's larva
reveals narrow secrets. And we

poem

X.X.,


Someday, across glacier, a green horse will ride toward you; despite steam rising from heavy breath, you'll touch its snout.

When you paired a person's gait to signature, what lilt signed your step? What tautology, what tense was this body's hypothesis?

Do you remember your mother's

poem
A hollowed singularity exists in flowers 
like pathos in a dandelion: 
an eddy of fate, degreeless, 

silvering through memory.
A scabbed consonant departing
the sentence: locust petal, bromeliad, 

a surfacing shame, lightless, beyond hearing.
Solitary, the clock circumvents sound
and a horse importunes 

a