There is no contradiction between having the best possible life and living on the edge of a    precipice.—Angus Deaton


All that
for this.

Be quiet,

Black skies,

Fed up
with friends.

Wind chime,
a schizoid indolence.

Thoughts crawl
here and there.

(death mask)
(disturbance regime)

The freedom of being
nowhere in the culture.


Paid at the museum,
stood in front

of marvelous old things.
(old injustices)

Ear spool, pink spondylus,
repoussé technique.

Precious jadeite heated
to shatter in the pool.

What did they think of,
waiting for the knife?


And so March arrives,
espousing widest skies,

the gay

Be patient,

(nobody wants to be
the sacrifice)

Possibly in the long run
something may be spared.


All that
for this.

Be gentle,

Perhaps in the circumstances
something might be said.

(marine ice-sheet

Was ever anything so fantastic
as this catastrophic flare?

The triumph sounding
at a time

when many ancient things
are coming to an end.

Jan Clausen’s most recent poetry title, her sixth, is the experimental volume Veiled Spill: A Sequence (GenPop Books), of which Juliana Spahr said: “Clausen writes of complicated vulnerability and feminist resistance…with such a deep love, with such a lyric invocation.” Poems have appeared in journals and anthologies such as AGNI, Bloom, Drunken Boat, Fence, Hanging Loose, Kenyon Review, Nimrod, Ploughshares, Poems from the Women’s Movement, Poetry Northwest, and Triquarterly. The recipient of fellowships from the NEA and NYFA, Clausen has published several volumes of fiction and Seven Stories Press recently reissued her 1999 memoir Apples and Oranges: My Journey through Sexual Identity. She has taught in the Goddard College MFA in Writing Program and at the New School, and currently teaches at NYU.

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