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Lisa Samuels: Three poems

This bus kneels on request
Art’s fire sale
True likeness

This bus kneels on request

A man spends his life in an airship
following the sun. Sweating in romance duds.
The narrative was the artery: a pair of lips, a pair of eyes.
‘You kissed yourself through me. I wasn’t there.’

They show their bellies here, small wastrels to the sea
a full of feeling complement, she leaned and showed
the part of her ideas he didn’t understand.

How do people wave their hands and make the tiny laughs?
I know a woman gives up consonants.
She vowels, she owl-cry provides.
Ideas he gave me: macaroon, afternoon, see you soon.

I have heard that story before. She lifts her leg and
it’s a social occasion. Ohs and ahs.
Drive away in your own Trinidad and Tobago.

Art’s fire sale

This would describe an utterly
practical solution at its free end
but of course astonish conceptual
that infinite bite you take in the restaurant

A girl in the newspaper with her skirt
blazing ‘give the people what they are’
the subject which predates
their noncompliance

And yet the flesh is up there
soothing applied wisdom
in the bath, legerdemain
constrained by influx.
This is a view you hold.

True likeness

photos of the developing world
stamped up for my fingers wander
little girls, whorls, trees submit
to tenderness, eyes press
admitting–I see as well as you do
though my tongue is half cut through
the vagaries of manumission
what we kept waiting for
when we kept asking

out by the roadside it’s beautiful
the sharp eyes of the passers by
are keenly felt, and keening is the sound inside
my ears that do not hear though they are
bent to purpose groundingly
when you come near I have a smile
somewhere in the dress my lips are wan
and win you nothing to the glassfront shop
whose every move I contemplate

I embellish though without
a scrutable anatomy
your hands upon the paper are
so inked, blue hardware
joining sidetruths, wrangled
with the messages we sent months
before when the country that we live
in still existed

Lisa Samuels

Lisa Samuels

Lisa Samuels is the author of three poetry books, most recently The Invention of Culture (Shearsman Books, 2008), and several chapbooks including War Holdings (Pavement Saw Press, 2003). She also publishes essays and edited works on literature and theory, and is particularly interested in critical practices involving ‘deformance’, a mode of physical criticism she invented for her 1997 PhD dissertation on Laura Riding and Wallace Stevens, in intellectual property for the humanities, and in continuing to develop critical and creative works in relation to the possibilities urged by digital technologies. She is currently working on a book of critical essays, Modernism Is Not Enough, and a creative manuscript, Anti M. She is a visiting scholar in Literary Arts at Brown University for part of 2008, and she teaches at The University of Auckland.

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