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About this poet

Justin Marks is the author of You're Going to Miss Me When You're Bored (Barrelhouse Books, 2014) and A Million in Prizes (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2009), which was chosen by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize. He is co-founder of Birds, LLC and lives in Queens, New York. 

The Split Ends of My Beard Have Split Ends

Justin Marks

My natural instincts are hardly ever right. When I sleep there is a voice in my ear coming through a cheerleader's megaphone in a really bizarre language. I understand fully. The world is out the window. When we wake on the weekends and my wife wants sex, I say, the furniture is feline, let's just snuggle. Then I get up to pee. Nothing's as good as you think it is. I'm old enough now to say of my past, that was a different time, I'm a different person. What was that noise? Successful ideas spring from great people. There is this music I heard once and if I could just have it with me at all times, there's no telling what I'd do. I'd like very much to speak the way I'm spoken to when I sleep, to have the perfect cheer. I'd also like to live forever among the brilliant colored cups of the tulips, but know how likely that isn't. If you want my advice, get out while you still can.

From A Million in Prizes by Justin Marks. Copyright © 2009 by Justin Marks. Used by permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University. All rights reserved.

From A Million in Prizes by Justin Marks. Copyright © 2009 by Justin Marks. Used by permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University. All rights reserved.

Justin Marks

Justin Marks

Justin Marks is the author of You're Going to Miss Me When You're Bored (Barrelhouse Books, 2014) and A Million in Prizes (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2009), which was chosen by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize. He is co-founder of Birds, LLC and lives in Queens, New York. 

by this poet

poem

Love endures like war
A connection I make then let
be unmade    Some guy
nodding out in a Starbucks,
severe career advice
from strangers    It’s 1pm and reality
is palpable    A gun
I leave my DNA wherever I can
and have no opinions to speak of
except when showering

2
poem

I shake a notebook of empty
pages and say, It’s all in here   
Every word of it    Dead dogs and stolen
property    Embraced
debauchery    For 35 years I had
no story to tell    Only words
in need of form    Every breath
a bomb    An infinite
space to fill

2
poem

Plan the future            A presence unknown

                                        Derivative is the way I hit snooze
for an hour on my alarm each morning

rediscover and marvel at
                       my one grey chest hair

When I don't know how to respond

2