Two poems from Nicholas Grider



You can’t be alarmed ‘cause you’re too busy being on fire.
This has nothing to do with that fooling around at the hotel
unbuttoning some mental buttons or waiting somewhere
picking flowers you don’t know the names of, this is you.

Sooner or later this kind of fumbling won’t be allowed.
All your distant faces will be wiped from the report.
If you knew better you would leave with a proper name
and a few belt notches and a lot of heavy lifting.

Or: you’d wait for romance to finish you off but without
mentioning ghosts or Windsor knots or rote apologies
and not much else to cover. Maybe you could go forth
wandering the earth still singing his praises or instead

you pound on his door and he’s not home and if he were
he’s too busy being on fire to know you’re there.



Emerald and oak be not sad, white | noise maker, turned up | in the heather, cloistered the people
| __ cloistered | not above forgotten, not above | noise makers turned, polished

heather in the wild the __ the | silence as an apologia the dictionary | as an apologia the stuttering
stammering sit still | and have a seizure submission scarlet | and silver the gift of giving coughing
| staggering forth into what light | belonging

frozen | again

frozen as if to the spot milk white milk | teeth and sliced hands from handling sliced hands | from
concertina wire no | getaway car no secret hideaway stuttering | stammering no apology serene |
sincere you were there she was | crimson warm breathing everything | everything she was frozen
you were | territory unclaimed sweetheart promised token | gift

and what did you do | with your __ you __ | cowardice bitterness ten-car pile-up costume |
jewelry distant revelry the reverb | won’t stop the earth | moves scar tissue give the gift of __ | the
hesitant promise of __ | __ | the “things will never be | the same” when __

finally | getting around to

not much luck with

mordant verdant be not sad, pink | noise maker deep inkwell exhaustive | transcription for the
archive | __ | what archive and for whom for what roar what sad |

for where

for absolutely still

Nicholas Grider  is the author of the story collection Misadventure (A Strange Object), which was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize, and the experimental book Thirty Pie Charts (Gauss PDF).  His work has appeared in Caketrain, Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, Guernica and elsewhere.

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