Five Poems by Vyt Bakaitis

Eight Distinctions

For the lucky few there is no tomorrow, only the day after

You may not see it coming, only what’s here already

In the class on market values, I am the one who pays attention

Of the two you meet in the road, I alone tell the truth

Fear they’d lived with was in their faces so you couldn’t tell them apart

Remember the first cup still tastes as good as it has to

Let your last thought at night be a warm one but not too warm

And always remember to clean up after


For a Few Words

The lifeline‘s snapped, frayed & frizz’d
ivy twines even the limp coil
recoils & climbs toward the blank

Sky’s eyeball

And at each open turn twists back
on foiled redundance

Into resuming awe-struck the sheer labor of breathing
round at the battened horizon and just beyond reach

Bloodshot out of earshot
up against the wall with fate
working it out frantic in
what thicket flowers

Finite spastic overlays
in demure drastic formulation
dimmed the attention span all his
hopes dashed up against

One lifetime’s beguilingly direct
mutant flow flooded & dammed
twice damned

The curse is language
just like a winter glaze
spring moonlight can give
the insomniac


Washed Clean

The daylight cranked out by lamplight
in a poet's starry rapt study, gazing

On a prod, a fluke, a prop for daytime
focus, nor to listen for what you can’t see

     and she gave herself over to death

     and death grabbed her

     the sisters, grinding their heads together
Like tethered twins, not twins exactly, though

From the same mothering stem their father
went back to, nurturing to suckle, now safely

Abashed past a sexual death, however unwitting
and beyond that, choked up, chafing and rasping

Waves of a future washout, foam-blinded
colliding rockslide collapsed the tide

Rushes to push back
off against some none-too-obvious

Oblivion to come, and then some


October Edge

I’m up close to the cupped leaf, clutching a shiver
to spite some scraping random rearranging
loss at the foot of every tree, fell as weed, till the air
opens on the light losing heat with a dullness
braised in every reassuring color of patchwork
faux leatherette

And with every magnified redundancy so pervasive
it settles and does not appear to shrink

But you don’t have to believe this, I just made it up
between raindrops which collectively belly up
to drifting quick-risen half-balloons
dazed and terminally pregnant
under the spouting drain

If I listen close I can hear the jittery splashes stream
and widen to a flat sea surface on the broken sidewalk



Paranoiac Parabola

Though the words don’t just drop out of the sky
the streets sometimes may be thick with them

Neighbors been around for years you lose track of
who only came by for the holidays anyway

Until the day you learn they’re here in the same prison
for an indefinite term so it doesn’t matter or register

Whatever you may think all you had in common
you only have your feelings left to work from really

Justice the last thing you look for now proves unreliable
looked so good stuck up there with studs in the night sky




Vyt Bakaitis has a new book of poems Deliberate Proof (Lunar Chandelier Press, NYC). City Country was his first book (Black Thistle Press, NYC, 1991). He has also published translations of poetry from several languages, with his versions of the classic Romantics Hölderlin and Mickiewicz included in World Poetry (W. W. Norton, 1998). Two books of his translations from the Lithuanian poet Jonas Mekas have appeared: Daybooks 1970-1972 (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, NYC, 2003) and There Is No Ithaca (Black Thistle, 1996).





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