George Kalamaras


Polite, Troubled Lives


The way a stand of sycamores bends with my most secret thought.
It is not enough to go for help, across the field, among the snowberries of August.

Someone threw a lantern at a tree.
The simultaneous lightning strike was not coincidental.

Honestly, it was that life as a notary public in which I learned to record things.
Tincture of moonlight tightening invisible mouth bandages made me realize that particular
life was in vain.

The way methylate eats the bumper of the ’63 Chevy, the way an epode arranges rows of corn
as raccoon scratch in snow.
Take me to the Opera House so I can hear the latest score on the unrecorded incarnation of
Yannis Ritsos, the one in which he had been strips of willow wood used to bind the feet of
the interrogated slew.

I make an iambic god press against this sentence.
I’d walk at least as far as the kitchen if it would empty my gut of hysteria.





George Kalamaras is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990. He is the author of six full-length books of poetry and seven chapbooks, including Symposium on the Body’s Left Side (Shivastan Publishing, 2011), Your Own Ox-Head Mask as Proof (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), The Recumbent Galaxy, co-authored with Alvaro Cardona-Hine (C&R Press, 2010), and Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck (2012), winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize. He recently won the New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM Chapbook Contest for his collection The Mining Camps of the Mouth, which appeared in 2012.

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