Joshua Edwards




Wrongheaded and obsequious
on vacation, unnerved
by new surroundings, I miss
the bright feeling of belonging
and the familiar patterns of my country—
its virginity and schizophrenia,
my several stolen bicycles.


 * *



In the European fog, one startled
while another rests and resting waits
for heavy closure. Philosophy, the lion’s
dark maw, changes seasons. The nation’s

ring of war regains renown—crowns,
new necks, and talent for violating
weakness. You want to paint the world
you were born into, but when you try

you’re only able to portray this one
that will kill you. You can’t get the oils
to impasto right, and the dried-blood red
you desire doesn’t seem to exist anymore.


 * *



Under the watchful eyes of the tigers
____I work all day long.
At night I dream of tigers fighting,
____procreating, eating,
smiling, breaking each other’s hearts,
____sobbing. On my days off,
when I can no longer bear the oppressive
____tigers or life among them,
I walk two miles to the ocean to swim,
____until I am tired of that as well.
Every week it is the same thing.


 * *



Working in a mountain’s
shadow, for a manager whose
will is a mirror, how you walk
and where are the only

forms of amusement outside
your mind, which seems
complete and complicated
but when studied wants rework.

Although you have a sense
of time, you don’t consider
how long it will take to prepare.
In other words, you never know

if you should leave or even
if you can. This is an era when
autumn is in everything and
the only proof of this is autumn.


 * *



Formally studying
the mind’s eye,
they sit feeling very
alive at humble

desks to compose
mesmeric songs
with damaged hearts.
They hallucinate

for transformative
texts which they
improve by dreaming
up eternal readers.

The horizon empties
of classic themes
and foreign lights
shine on everything.


 * *



There’s gold
in the Pharaoh’s rectum.

The mouth of the Queen
is loaded with rose petals.

The Emperor’s eyes
have been replaced by myrrh.

For all the holes
in sky and earth: filling.

In each orifice:
an offering.

On every envelope addressed
to whatever: a stamp.


Image: Christos Katsiaouni
Joshua Edwards’ collection Imperial Nostalgias is available now from Ugly Duckling Presse.

EdwardsJoshua Edwards directs and co-edits Canarium Books. He's the author of Campeche (with photographs by his father Van Edwards; Noemi Press, 2011) and Imperial Nostalgias (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013), and the translator of contemporary Mexican poet María Baranda's Ficticia. His poetry and translations have also appeared in Chicago ReviewColorado ReviewLIT, PracticeSlate, Vanitas, and elsewhere, and an essay about his favorite South American poet, Vicente Huidobro, is forthcoming from the Tavern Books Honest Pint subscription series. Currently a fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, he and his wife, Lynn Xu, divide their time between Stuttgart, Germany and Marfa, Texas.
MertehikianLucas Mertehikian studied Literature at the University of Buenos Aires, where he is a research assistant, and at the National University of Tres de Febrero. His poems have appeared in Metamorphoses (Smith College) and Alchemy (UC San Diego). He runs Dakota Editora, which has published the first Latin American editions of writers like Tao Lin and Ben Lerner. Lately he has been obsessively reading travel accounts by authors as diverse as Tulio Carella and Katherine Dreier.

Published on April 23rd of 2013 in Poetry.

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