Anselm Berrigan


I regret knowing what time it’s ever been, I regret

not painting Not The Bathroom on your white

walls in big indigo letters, I regret the feint

of leaning in in that death by snake landscape

that was collage, I regret all kinds of nothings

little beautiful timidities I don’t long-view regret

it was a they, we added up, you have to give people

the space you didn’t know how to take, you don’t
you’re a sorting mechanism, you’re not actually

all slime, you’re a very fierce frail piece of guy

supposedly you didn’t turn around the last time
dad said goodbye, who needs to notice, you being

yourself don’t quite work your shit out loud
enough for the novelistic everyfucks, sunny
helmet kiss on forearm, light repulsion, at deep
night I come all over the courtly pre-imagined

my interest in desperation lies only in that

sometimes I find myself having become
desperate, I know ghosts, they’re being ordered

about, fucked as ever by limitation, a book

the size of your fingers told me to force it so

so I say a damned thing, with love crushed to

bring out flavor, your look at me way keeps feeling

space filled with massive non-participation, then

bodies force you to appear to measure out the

exacting space to not die in, or be non-dead already

Author of eight books of poetry and numerous chapbooks, Anselm Berrigan earned a BA from SUNY Buffalo and an MFA from Brooklyn College. His collections of poetry include Integrity & Dramatic Life (1999), Zero Star Hotel (2002), Some Notes on My Programming (2006), Free Cell (2009), Something for Everybody (forthcoming, fall 2018) and the book-length poems Notes from Irrelevance (2011) and Primitive State (2015). His book Come In Alone (2016) is made up entirely of poems written in rectangle-form out at the edges of the page. An on-going body of work entitled “Pregrets” has been collected in the chapbooks Pregrets (2014) and Degrets (2017).