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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)

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.
Afternoons he names me Bob, knocks
my knee with a plastic hammer. I’m half-

naked, shivery with chicken skin,
napkin-gowned. But I don’t laugh
because I think the veined cobweb

looks like Abe Lincoln’s profile on the penny.
So let’s pretend I’m not sick at all.
I’m filled with golden tumors—

love for the nurse who feeds me
to the machine. The machine worse
than any death—the powerlessness

of a shaved & strapped-down body.
Even in purgatory you can wear earrings
& though the music might crack a spine,

at least in that torture, the tears from your arm’s
needle marks are mouth-wateringly sweet.

Copyright © 2006 Alex Lemon. “MRI” originally appeared in Mosquito (Tin House Books, 2006). Reprinted with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2006 Alex Lemon. “MRI” originally appeared in Mosquito (Tin House Books, 2006). 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
Each night, the suffer-
Gleamed stars above
Texas crush down & I do

Not know how to say
No thank you, please
To the jawing ghosts

That show up to gnaw
Furrows in my chest.
The wind whispers

Hotly. Nightjars
Polish the darkness
Free of moths.

I refuse to let go
Of my paranoia
Because it assures
poem

Rusty chains coiled in the cardboard box
           I carry to the dumpster & all I am

Thinking is my face is falling off & is yours
           Under it & or is someone’s I don’t

Even know—further down, a stranger,
           A deadman, a saint, or just a sprawl

Of

poem

What I need from this
Slap & tickle is a full

Suckle of lies. Glue
My lips together with

Blow flies. I am not
Ashamed at how hot

My cravings swing—
Cinder blocks crashed

Through car windows
& a joyous Wuuuu-Wuuuuu

Shouted at the dark