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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.

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

REASON                /               UNREASON

 

the brain is                 

           an unlit synagogue 

easily charted               

           in dark waters

using machines            

poem

i’m interested in death rituals.

maybe that’s a weird thing to say.

when i say interested i mean,

i’ve compiled a list.

on it are mourning practices

gathered across time & continents

it’s long & oddly comforting

how no one knows a damn thing

about what follows

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