Summer 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 3 Poetry |

Separate City: Prose Poems: Lives I’ll Never Live (for Minor White)

No one's fooled today by the handsome young man who distracts the camera from the scenery. The moon over coastal hills excuses the pose, a sailor on leave, rough jaw, the anchor tattoo … nothing exists without skin. Contours of sandstone toned like a body, fissures in rock like lips, a male mouth. Close-ups reveal shape, not story: he couldn't tell us whose body he wanted and framed it again and again, kneeling toward stone lover over lover, catching how morning light pressed itself on water or revealed the wear of hands in the abandoned house. An open window, the blurred hem of a coat, a man just disappearing. The great intent leaks through: God has lit the world on fire. Knowing he was dying, he turned the lens on himself, spry mystic dressed in rags, dressed in leather, one last chance to play the biker, the hippie, the Spirit of Death.

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Keith Ekiss is a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow. He is the author of Pima Road Notebook (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2010) and the translator of The Fire’s Journey by the Costa Rican poet Eunice Odio (Tavern Books, Fall 2012).

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