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About this poet

sam sax is the author of Madness (Penguin Books, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series. His second collection, Bury It, forthcoming in 2018 from Wesleyan University Press, received the 2017 James Laughlin Award.

Judge Tyehimba Jess writes about sax’s winning book:

Bury It, sam sax’s urgent, thriving excavation of desire, is lit with imagery and purpose that surprises and jolts at every turn. Exuberant, wild, tightly knotted mesmerisms of discovery inhabit each poem in this seethe of hunger and sacred toll of toil. A vitalizing and necessary book of poems that dig hard and lift luminously.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, and The MacDowell Colony. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Objectophile

everyone knows about the woman who fell in love with the bridge
but no one cares how the bridge felt after.

everyone knows about the poet who leapt from the deck of a ship
but not how the boat lifted & bloated in his wake like a white infant
spread over the bed of a lake.

we leave our objects behind us. we collect our dead’s leavings & listen
for their breathing in the soft mouths of gloves. we believe them.

i care too much & still have the dead boy’s red sweater. i tongue
the wound. i tender this mule. i unravel quick my flesh debt.

every word an object in my dark wet house. everyone asks after
the living but no one cares how the cotton sobs in my mouth.

i am become warehouse               :             i am destroy speech.

everyone knows the poet fell from the bridge because he jumped.
no one cares there’s nothing left for us but his poems

not even a simple plaque drilled into the bridge’s throat reads :

     this is where the man lived
     this is where the man broke
    
this is the man
    
this is the man stretched
     between two cold cities
    
you are standing
     on his back.

Copyright © 2016 by sam sax. “Objectophile” originally appeared in Meridian. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 by sam sax. “Objectophile” originally appeared in Meridian. Reprinted with permission of the author.

sam sax

sam sax

sam sax is the author of Madness, winner of the National Poetry Series and forthcoming in 2017 from Penguin Books.

by this poet

poem

like anyone i can make a list of the dead

i can make them my dead by making the list

i can write my name then name names below it 

i can craft & obfuscate & collapse

poem

the time for nuance is over
i argue over breakfast
explaining how it’s oft used
to confuse dissent—knife
through my poached egg.
politicized work made all yolky,
easy to consume & forget.
i dab with the toasted bread
agitation & propaganda i rant

2
poem
They cut off our hair
& there we were
Hairless.
 
A photograph
In a history i skimmed
So quick
I missed
 
We were there
Less than elsewhere
Our hair cut
So close the scalp
Gleamed