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From the Archives: Four Poems, by Elaine Equi

Happy birthday, Elaine Equi! Celebrate by reading these four Equi poems we published on May 28, 2019!
—John Madera, Editor


I Don’t Wish to Be a Vampire

With centuries of memory
stored in a youthful body.

It is – or could be – such a pleasure
if we didn’t fear it so much,

to get old and indulge in
subversive acts of dawdling,

withering, forgetting with impunity,
letting go of ambition served too long,

its bitter sweet ligatures finally breaking
down and dissolving.

While others feverishly train
body and brain in gyms,

let me cultivate the corpse flower,
listen to it like a radio in a small room

quietly playing its hypnotic
melodic overture of decomposition.



My poem with the blank stare and secret smirk.

My poem with the mojo of a thousand emojis.

My poem like a tame ocean.

My anorexic poem sucking for days on a single syllable.

My hearty midwestern potluck poem.

My poem with the heady air of an Alpine inn.

My poem that still suffers in the twenty-first century from neurasthenia.

My city poem with its chorus of paper-skyscraper-dolls.

My lace-edged unromanticism.

My poem that likes talking to strangers.

My pathetic poem.

My homeopathic poem.

My glow-in-the-dark poem.

My poem that is finished by elves.


Idle Chatter

Please, distract me
for another minute or two,

another hour.

Distract me for
several more years –

they’re yours.

Keep me from
my true purpose

unless that purpose
be to pursue distraction

like a scholar or a monk
who shuns all else.


Easter Monday

It was Easter yesterday,
but news travels slow,

and some are still fighting
the same old war.

All day I keep hoping
to run into myself

on corners that almost
but never quite meet.

Rain tinsels taxis.
Like sleepwalkers,

buildings rise from puddles
waving their blurry bricks.


Elaine Equi is the author of many books, including The Intangibles, Sentences and Rain, Click and Clone, Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems, The Cloud of Knowable Things, Voice-Over, and Decoy. Equi lives in New York City and teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program at The New School.

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