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The Last Poem by Me

Prologue

The Last Poem by Me is not even by me. It’s by Garrett Kaufmann. He’s better than me.

Garrett Kaufmann was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1982. He runs his family’s jazz bar, Mark’s Marmoset. His first pamphlet, O Greta, was published by Chickasaw Books and he is currently working on a full collection, Letters to Greta Chapman. For a time he played semi-professional soccer but now he mainly plays not-professional squash. His poems have appeared widely in journals and magazines such as Loose 54, The Brook and the Wood, Tell City Review and A New York Roman.

Michael Egan was born in Liverpool in 1980. He wrote poetry until 2014. He has given up poetry but writes fiction and edits Veild the Pole, a magazine containing both poetry and fiction.

 

The Poem Itself

 

Fifth Letter to Greta Chapman by Garrett Kaufmann

just an ear of corn, Greta,

to tell me who my father was, to grow and get farmed.         

another song in the snow, Greta.                     

my garrison tune, my walled-up whistle

and on the Ohio River I saw Louisville shining.

deep now it rolls, Greta, deep like your humming that June.

miserable in the darkness no more,

neat night, quiet lights, all flights.

I’m not eating sugar no more, Greta. I’m not watching

Christian Bale movies no more, not since American Hustle

he was too like my father, Greta, too like my mirror.

I’m not paying any attention to Syria no more, Greta.

I give up. Greta, give up. There are more chairs abandoned

than bodies to fill them, legless barbershop chairs,

                                                      school stools

rotating, a kid in a mask shaving his face

with a knife isn’t all of existence riding the tail

of a comet to earth, they’re bastards and they breathe

nitrogen. I’m a bastard and I breathe oxygen.

breathless in Austria in the mid-90s I met my father.

he was done with soccer, done with Sturm Graz

                                                      and my not-mother.

my not-brothers can’t look me in the eye. I’m a kid

                                                      in the snow again, Greta.

hold the corn and peel the corn, tell me all of my layers.

I’m in Evansville, Greta, and you’re showering

                                                       so I can see you,

water skin-dancing and all of you steam-touched,

                                            turning to the opened window.   

I don’t need to come home to be with you, Greta.


 

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About michaeleganpoetry

Liverpool based poet and editor. I have had four pamphlets of poetry published, most recently After Stikklestad (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010). Penned in the Margins published my first collection, Steak & Stations, in 2010.

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