from Point Break, a long poem about Keats

The nurses say
Art is long
but I fear they have that wrong
I want to be
gutted and fed to the shipboard cat
or swept harmlessly into the sea to break down and caress
the calfskin where Keanu
spills from the locker vents
jeeps out to catch a sick and then
all these stunts are fake
but not all of them all these stunts
were faked in heaven
the missing reel of film explodes in the schoolbus
luminescent corpse gas
projects on the interior
skullbone of the bus (a bower
Keats would have liked to invent but didn’t) 
the scene
where Keats
Keanu paddles backwards yes backwards into the surf and
into the mindthread
reel of the sea

Joyelle McSweeney is the author of ten books of poetry, stories, novels, essays, translations and plays, including, most recently, the poetry double-volume Toxicon and Arachne (Nightboat Books, 2020)and The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults, a work of decadent ecopoetics (University of Michigan Poets on Poetry series, 2015). Her debut poetry volume, The Red Bird, inaugurated the Fence Modern Poets Series in 2001, while her verse play, Dead Youth, or the Leaks, inaugurated the Leslie Scalapino Prize for Innovative Women Performance Artists in 2014. With Carmen Maria Machado, she was the guest editor of Best American Experimental Writing 2020. She also collaborated with Don Mee Choi on translations of two short stories by Korean modernist Yi Sang, featured in Yi Sang: Selected Works from Wave Books alongside translations by Jack Jung and Sawako Nakayasu (2020). Her poem “Post-NICU Villanelle”, was published in the Iowa Review and is the recipient of a 2021 Pushcart prize. With Johannes Göransson, she co-edits the international press Action Books and teaches at Notre Dame.

Next Page (Kelsey Zimmerman)

Previous Page (Joyelle McSweeney)