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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.

Trans Orbital Lobotomy

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 
 
you open the grape
 
you open 
 
in the '50s there were tens of thousands performed in the states 
 
sour mess. sour mash. mashup. macerate.
 
cut a rug. jitterbug. wonder drug. gutter. tug. suture. lacerate. 
 
erasure. erase. raced. deadened. dead end. 
 
end. replace. 
 
once a doctor removed the frontal lobe of an aggressive ape
 
what followed was a column of ants
 
your relative made new & easy to manage
 
a miracle 
 

Copyright © 2017 by sam sax. “Trans Orbital Lobotomy” originally appeared in Madness (Penguin, 2017). Reprinted with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2017 by sam sax. “Trans Orbital Lobotomy” originally appeared in Madness (Penguin, 2017). 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
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
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

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