Jeffrey Cyphers Wright


Garlic paper flakes off like dried seconds
waiting for me to put words on them.
I whirl through the month, a dizzy twister.
Not every day is a holiday. You don’t say?

A genie rises from the bowl. Smoke signals.
Coffee holds out a brown mitten.
We grind the candle light, smelting ardor.
An aqua tug bullies its cargo upstream.

Plenty to take care of here. Plenty to share.
Trains leave every hour but we stay.
Glinting wires hint at unseen guides
that keep our death-defying act gliding.

The river slips from steel into teal satin.
Dusk’s push broom comes, sweeping us on.


A few clouds scallop the sky like pale fish
over the river. The carousel on Pier 25
closes for the season. I waste my days
courting puppets and chasing women.
October turns out its empty pockets,
squeezing the last glow from evening.

The nation teeters on spindly hind legs.
I almost lose it in the Bureau of Frustration.
Baz and I swap jail stories at Howl!
The pigeon lady quivers under feathers
at Union Square. Katherine Bradford
paints a pirate ship in my imagination.

Another friend had a stroke.
The frogs have a motto: “Born to croak.”

LiVE Mag! publisher and editor Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is author of 18 books of verse, including Blue Lyre and Party Everywhere. Recent poetry is in New American Writing, The Cafe Review, Stat-O-Rec, and Best American Poetry. He’s a Kathy Acker Award winner for poetry and publishing, and has had recent residencies at eMediaLoft and Howl! A book of sonnets and artwork called Doppelgängster is forthcoming.