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poet

Paul Guest

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Paul Guest

Paul Guest is the author of four poetry collections, including Because Everything Is Terrible (Diode Editions, 2018) and My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge (Ecco, 2008). A Guggenheim fellow and Whiting Award winner, he teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Virginia and lives in Charlottesville.

by this poet

poem
I began to die, then. I think
I was asleep. Dreaming
of an afterlife that revised
my flesh into what
I had wanted. Why do
I think of Ronald Reagan
the way one recalls
vague nightmare:
the sick heart and terror
which is percussive.
Was this the year
I saw him at the airport.
Men grimly tested
my body for hidden
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poem
Should the painful condition of irreversible paralysis
last longer than forever or at least until
your death by bowling ball or illegal lawn dart
or the culture of death, which really has it out
for whoever has seen better days
but still enjoys bruising marathons of bird watching,
you, or your beleaguered
poem

I’m thinking of the boiling sea
and the dream in which
all the fish were singing.
I want to wake up with my heart
not aching like death,
but I am always falling
in to terror. I’m a good person.
I grieve to appropriate degrees.
I mourn this season. This moment.
I mourn

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