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Four Poems, by Elaine Equi


The Craft

Many people want to find magic,
like a new car or computer,
want to put magic to work
making more money or keeping
them young and immortal.
These are the same things
people have always wanted,
which is how magic grew
into capitalism with magic symbols
printed on every dollar.
Someone should really find
a new use for this old technology
so magic could become magical again.


The Shift

I don’t know
what I was

all night.



and fulfilling

fallen pieces
of myself

and putting them
in boxes away.


The Forty Days and Forty Nights Diner

Come sit under
this cactus with me.

We’ll have toasted manna
for breakfast—

and water from a rock.


The Walk

Poetry is a leash.
The line
a leash
the world tugs at
when it wants to go
into the world,

the smell of leaves,

the smell of blood,

some ripe trash
that needs to be put
into the poem.

with slow feet,
the poet walks behind,
gazing elsewhere.

It is he who is led.

Fallow the literary field.
Pallid the leash-men moving among.

While the world does
its business,

he thinks of heaven, hell, Rimbaud,
the stock market (rallying),
toothpaste (must get),
Cy Twombly’s scribbled grass.


(Image: Cy Twombly’s On Returning from Tonnicoda, 1973)

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