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New poem by Todd Swift


ON THE JOYS AND SORROWS

They say that blessings pour down on your head
when they do. Blessings, I’ve had a few.  I feel
thrilled with being less than dead, which is here-I-am
collaborating with the physical agents on the wild

run of things, slip-sliding away.  Days go, sunrise.
This is the document in which I will nailgun your heart
to my heart and together we’ll slide like yippies
all the way into toy town, rioting in joyousness.

This is the loudest testament I can afford to jolt
you with using script.  Now twist and shout too –
you’re embroiled in my love, as the poem relies
on your recognition.  Canonise me, love, glorify

the shiver of decoration overcoming my soul qua soul,
and all the raw feels that decipher themselves as codes.
Break, dash, dot and squall – fling off your nakedness
and dress like a dashing guard in a prison of Godliness,

perhaps a naval officer with a handlebar, a hat.
The university where I work does not value me, boo-hoo,
as much as the rain, the dew, the petals, the lapwings do.
Ecology is a madhouse of intentions exploring itself

forever for no reason but decaying exploits, the planet
is a nut’s cage we celebrate at our own peril, best to fled.
Fleeing is what I seek, who came to live among yobs
and loons, and the flesh of adorable girls named Eunice,

Theodora and Miss Coq au Vin.  I was Jesus back then,
rise as Barabbas, hairy and pledged to guilt as a badge
of stapled disgrace.  I grow sex like a prank on my face.
This is a big splash on the poetry scene, it makes a call

for you to confront your imago and go berserk for art,
which is all we have of Arvo Part, and of season Seven.
So go Coastal, boast and strum your mandolins, rejoice!
The corner with the hapless poet is clear, take your place.

Angels and dreamers ignore all that you have done, why
should they appreciate a jotting of their own monologues?
No, you are lustrous ephemera, a hacking cough, phlegm
on the sleeve of a commandant who holds bitter reigns;

judges, critics, deans, inquisitors, and those who run archives
have better lives than do those who bolt past bounds;
merely immortal, you wait, love-delayed, for old fate
to overtake you; the direct train to Waterloo blasting its drive.

Only then, once dead, will you be read – if even then.
Mostly, rise and sing, strip down to your tremulous knees
and knock on the door marked Forget About It.
The sheer delight is to know your detractors also rot

and when they do, they do so without Beauty’s tit
suckling them in the tomb.  Grass grows across my lips
which makes me spit.  I stick my fist out of the loam and shout
to the guy with the shovel to come running like Hercules.

Together, we shall dance upon the opening that was my loss,
the berth that was my death.  Stood up again I am not lonely
now.  I have in tow an ill-bred witness to how nothing ends
that begins in verse and hurtles out on its own ceaseless lust.

May 24, Maida Vale, 2013

copyright Todd Swift
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Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
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SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!