Three Poems by Sam Lohmann


After Baudelaire

The day is gray but with bells
A pile of boxes under the roses
And like a phantom that needs glasses
I go, bumping into things

Prosaist, enemy of waking
Friend of sleepwalking (you said) and Polaroid
Photographer of lightless intersections
The day is gray but with bells

An overdeveloped negative
The paranoid hits the nail on the head
No matter where the hammer lands
Boxes piled under ochre roses

Experimenting with boredom like a pectin
Colliding colloids in which dust suspended
Struggles to extricate light from air
Like a phantom that needs glasses

Friend of speaking (you sleptwalk!) and paranoid
Polaroid photographer of intersections
Prosaist, enemy of waking
I go and keep bumping into things

Cloud Study


The weird or even horrible sky
tweaking the trees

through a haze
clear as snot
the blue spine of the mall

transfixing the corner of the parking garage.

Say a wad of Kleenex hangs stuck to the sky, lower down and off to the side.

Our cares leave one by one and leave the bald lack of excuse of asphalt like dark jade, like Friday evening. Where to go?

The power goes out. We want to forget to want anything. It goes summer then a mistake then cold, like a friend’s cold hand on your arm.

A single cloud,
the same one,
now pink as chocolate milk, traverses

the new accident—or
problem, if you

“Those birds are problem birds.”


The Completed Sketch

Bathing in the diverted line by a turn in the smell of a paintbox slung that landscape haversack sort of hillocks they burned their shoes at blazing noon would knead a dough of days—star-scented broom

The plough strikes stumps of weapons rusted badges perhaps with nostalgia the pitted crater sun shining through horses’ sweat the young elms should sully shade cast full-bellied blazons garlands carved with strewn flowers

Season whose cunning covered with plaster was sharp to all tricks except trees those quivering bridges gamut green to gorge on sap the canvases dense with rambling doorways noiseless tracks houses in clouds on the contrary

Sought brute aspects red ravines leafless bulky roofs fiery cicadas cracked glisten under stubble close to roots to convey the lions the classical layout gravel in the abandoned park a complete sketch of the plain a twisted wave

Whim of soot covered with black distemper rainwashed black it was golden red among clumps a monk’s mass of copies of every aspect sometimes a landscape between two pages the copy tattered and falling to bits

All infused in all infused in one space almost white the merest lines or a few dabs almost empty thickly worked in a skein of silk almost slashed barely drawn blocks tangled tufts with a tint clutching the abandoned color

Sam Lohmann is the author of Stand on this picnic bench and look north (Publication Studio, 2011) and several chapbooks. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he edits the magazine Peaches and Bats, coedits Airfoil chapbooks with David Abel, organizes readings with the Spare Room collective, works at a preschool, and attends library school.

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