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About this poet

sam sax is the author of Madness (Penguin Books, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, and Bury It (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), which received the 2017 James Laughlin Award.

Of his work, James Laughlin Award judge Tyehimba Jess writes, "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."

sax has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, The MacDowell Colony, and Stanford University, among others. He currently serves as the poetry editor at BOAAT Press.

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

Sub_prize_or_program - Bury Itsam sax is the author of Madness, winner of the National Poetry Series and forthcoming in 2017 from Penguin Books.

by this poet

poem

and again the test comes back negative for waterborne parasites
for gonorrhea of the throat and of elsewhere       for white blood cells in the stool

this isn’t always true       sometimes it’s a phone call from your lover

poem

i never wanted to grow up to be anything horrible
as a man.  my biggest fear  was the hair  they said
would    snake    from  my   chest,   swamp    trees
breathing  as  i  ran.  i prayed for a  different  kind
of  puberty:  skin  transforming  into  floor boards
muscles  into  cobwebs,

poem
in through the eye
 
device adapted from an ice pick
 
the space between the cornea & tear duct tears
 
little incisions along the frontal lobe
 
you open the grapefruit