Summer 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 3 Poetry |

Ötzi

I sing of the fake claim to history —the counterfeit tree that says one's root is royal, or holy, or indisputably native, and therefore so is the current flowering of that root. The hokey hominid, the faux-ur sherd of Ark. I sing of the bogus crest of arms, the forged certificate, the deep arroyo salted with teeth from skeletons half a planet away, with spurious jaws, with acid-tanned impostor-parts of skulls, with knees that look like gray shells emptied of their oysters: knees that figure in a court case now, to prove or disprove ownerships, entitlements, exemptions. I invoke the muse of genealogical hashwork, she who duly presides over just such scenes as I've described; I sing too of the poem, of the twenty-first century poem, that beckons the muse in this consciously ancient way in hopes of calling down upon itself some semblance of validity from a time when the words were carved into stone, and intoned at the birthplace of prophets, and worked into walls of pure gold.

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Albert Goldbarth has been publishing collections of poetry for over four decades, two of which two have received the National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest, Selfish, was published by Graywolf Press in May 2015. He tests his patience by living in Wichita, Kansas.

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Wrist Beep

By Albert Goldbarth

I sing of the fake claim to history —the counterfeit tree that says one's root is royal, or holy, or indisputably native, and therefore so is the current flowering of […]

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