Joseph Lease


empire equals fitness and guns and used books,
if the world is state terror, he forgot joy, dripping
in his skull, “it’s just a path, don’t be nervous,”
promise me the rich can’t sleep, “America,” my
parasite, my seizure breaking word and world,
health insurance health insurance health health
insurance greed health insurance greed before
you know it you’re lying in a pool of blood
                            I hear that everywhere I go
“America is in your hands: this Bud’s for you,” I am a
valued customer of CVS pharmacy, no getting out, you
don’t get out of the universe, “we” like that you can go
into the whirlwind and buy canned soup and potatoes
au gratin and Bumblebee salmon and pecan whirls
and write to your congressional representative, don’t
say sweatshops, don’t say drones, “America,” my
parasite, my seizure breaking word and world, in soft
air, soft air, someone’s trying not to care
Joseph Lease‘s critically acclaimed books of poetry include The Body Ghost (Coffee House Press, forthcoming in 2018), Testify (Coffee House Press, 2011), and Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007). Lease’s poems “‘Broken World’ (For James Assatly)” and “Send My Roots Rain” were anthologized in Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. Lease’s poem “‘Broken World’ (For James Assatly)” was anthologized in The Best American Poetry (Robert Creeley, Guest Editor). His poem “Free Again (Why don’t people)” was published in The New York Times. David Shapiro wrote: “I regard Lease as the best poet of his generation.”

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