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poet

Oliver de la Paz

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Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz’s forthcoming book, Synaptic Labyrinth, will be published by the University of Akron Press in 2019. His other collections include Post Subject: A Fable (University of Akron Press, 2014), Requiem for the Orchard (University of Akron Press, 2010), Furious Lullaby (Southern Illinois University Press, 2007), and Names Above Houses (Southern Illinois University Press, 2001). A founding member of Kundiman, he teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and the Rainier Writing Workshops at Pacific Lutheran University. He lives near Worcester, Massachusetts.

by this poet

poem

And in the outer world, the first, something smooth and wet. An
     X
skims across the tops of the crests in a succession of skips. The
     longest
holds its space in the air, pauses, then descends into what is a cool
     sleep.

X and all the faces of backlit animals gaze downward

2
poem

Dear Empire,



These are your temples. There are rows of stone countenances, pillar after pillar. As if walking through a forest filled with alabaster heads: here, the frown. The gaze. The luminous stare.

Smoke from the incense curls, shapes itself against the archways, rubs against the

poem

The way is written in the dark:

it has steel in it, something metallic, a gun,

a mallet, a piece of machinery—

something cold like the sea, something,

 

a nervous shudder. If it

were to go on, the next stanza

would snuff out sound.
 
It would stand in a forest