Bad Luck Ends the World: Poems by Seth Abramson



Some Were on Fire

It made its perch on a wand of mountain gristle
stuck deep in the side
………………..of Wednesday. All was below.
The northmen with snow on their shoulders.
Love worth a day
worth also a life. The god-granted anger

on piggy-backs of starving fathers. Mewlings.
Bad luck ends the world, but still
no one worships it.
Magic is a thousand-year hunch that’s asked for
by more.
…………………It flapped simply to be flapping,
sending a foul color down the mountainside.
What destruction looks down on
is wise enough in time
not to look back. Boys toeing candied heads
beneath their boots,
rolling them back one step on the macadam
and then forward. Back two steps
and then forward. You grinning Apocalypse,
all this is yours

but hope for better. For much and moreso.
The boys guessed
it was hidden behind a wagon wheel just before
they were set upon from above
instead. Then they were just spoolings of red air
beneath its perch
for what seemed a lifetime
because it was. After all, all’s above. But not just
Some looked and saw it, some looking at it saw
nothing. Then what they wanted.
These let their whips limp through the mud
singing a motley principle. Those took to a knee
and thought harder
………………..about the way of things.


Right Bank

I think there’s vampirism here. An act of violence
perpetuated at this exact point
in history
becomes a strain on the idea of surface, like copies
in a museum. It only takes a man
with an infinitely receding hairline and a love for
his own teeth
to blare from the depths the icon of the wandering
Jew, or, if everything is a simulacra,
a police in which the beast life is still capable.
Have you seen a baby clung to its tit? You’ve seen
a lion and its tamer
………..and the fabulous count. Let’s get a tattoo

that represents what he is, how people perform,
the loving detail. Can you draw a line
between? Can you draw a line at all?
Listen, I can actually trace my ancestry: I’m a man
of Bohemia,
but I can argue too for another way. I am a carrier
of anything
at any hour. But that, Sir, takes some blood-letting.

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photo mikelehen / flickr

About Seth Abramson

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Seth Abramson is the author of three collections of poetry: Thievery (University of Akron Press, forthcoming 2013), winner of the 2012 Akron Poetry Prize; Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Poetry & Prose; and The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009). Presently a doctoral candidate (ABD) in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he also reviews contemporary poetry for The Huffington Post and researches graduate creative writing programs for Poets & Writers. In recent years his poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2008, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, New American Writing, Harvard Review, AGNI, jubilat, and Colorado Review.

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