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Kent Johnson

Prosodic Structure

— A bit after Barbara Guest

The first stanza exists so that the second stanza
may exist. There is no other reason to provide.

In this second one, now, we are climbing back up
through the hole of reason inside the first. Where it
is darker than it first appeared. Where a soft sort of static
seems disseminated and everywhere. As if the mind
were an anther, its dehiscence whispering there, inside
a structure of no one’s providing. We look around with
our ancient desire. We look to each other. We may exist,
we say. And we say so as we come, awkwardly, back down.

Thank you for putting your head up there with me.
Your guess, really, is as good as mine.

This poem is a tribute to the late Barbara Guest. It first appeared in issue #4 of Effing Magazine. Effing Press was started in 2002 in Austin, Texas, by Scott Pierce. All chapbook and magazine issues are listed on the site: The most recent book is Threnody, by Tom Clark. Upcoming books include Whole Milk by Jim Goar, Black Stone by Dale Smith, The Last Sappho Poems by Gloria Frym, and others. Effing Magazine is on its fourth issue, edited by David Hadbawnik and Farid Matuk. The fifth issue is slated for publication late summer and will be edited by Allyssa Wolf. ‘There is no creed, no mission statement for the press,’ says publisher Scott Pierce. ‘I make books I like and can afford to print!’

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