Three Poems

Seth Abramson



Down below past the fire escapes

they are widening the street

and men are hurrying from men

and women are hurrying


to women. There are many streets

and some of them

are clean.

I have thrown from a high place

a child

and he has landed in a low crouch

and set off like a man


down the length of a street which is


So I call myself an event

which I am.

I see myself in the up of cups

and in dangers that

never fall. Sometimes I am at a sill


looking through a fire escape into

I imagine

the holes of old outhouses,

though bedroom windows of men

living sheets to sheets and women

waylaid by capers

are the only actual slights

on the empty street. And sometimes

the air of the city lifts into the room


like a new translation of someone,

and there’s a piece of glass

sitting at the base of a space heater,

and I find myself


speaking of myself in the past tense,

and I worry.








               He kneels by the creek to drink
his reflection and his catchrope
trails him
the fourteen hundred miles to Jersey.
His arms cold rifles spent
          at his side, burying themselves
in the black moss of the bank
he drinks at. The creek
whatever its pitch
is still carrying him off like a message
who gets it who sends it.
The bank holds its own size and shape
but not his. His sits in a Jersey walk-up
          with money at the fly
for everything but milk. And in corners
reckonless shadows
          and ropes of other kinds
and outside where a Jersey pine starves
a woman on a stoop holds a rope.
Back at the creek
his halter shrugs tighter under his chin
and the man he sees in the water
is dumbstruck. Probably she is in love,
he thinks. And probably downriver
there is another man bent by the water
who waits
          for love also and also cannot see
what he is.








Of course history is additive, and I will love,
and there are kings still,
            and there is medieval weaponry used
on peasants still, and the sun has beginnings
in it, it wheels in a way some find
oppressive and some a measure of hereafter,
and that’s wrong, I said it wrong,
and the past and the present may not actually
intersect, and I will love, and I will again lose
that loss, and there are modes of transport
still, only slower and faster, and there are still
slow and fast transportations, and someplace,

there are places, and there is a wreckage that is 
            sifted through, someplace, and some is
solid, some soil, some is sold, some is gambled,
and of course, and of course 
I will love, and there is a forest to go speak to,
and there is a man to speak with, and of course 

and there is a woman to speak with, 
and I will go, and they will speak to each other,
and they will lie, but mostly love, they will love,
and there will be action, and there will be kings, 
and there will be kingdoms, but only these, 
only the things that can leave the way things are 
the way of things.






Seth Abramson is the author of Thievery (University of Akron Press, 2013), winner of the 2012 Akron Poetry Prize, and Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize from New Issues. He is also Series Co-Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Omnidawn, forthcoming 2014).