Erik Anderson


from The Identity Event



Days pass. Uganda continues. This struggle


between significant things: believable worlds or a breakdown of order

I took for a chance


encounter uncovered a cache.


The names lay scattered under a seersucker suit. I yawned. Grumbled. And counted to ten.


With no land no body no word

for taking you in as you came














Interruptions have this effect: that you must hear my voice, or

am I a tension

that cannot know


it is a tension:


circular and incomplete, how it tends

away from the cicadas. Its


incompletion is itself incomplete


Can we change the subject?


Under one trade wind, two words merge—and then they disappear















a boat I’ll call a tanker

takes off from an unseen port


its cargo—marvels from a fuchsia past

still interesting in this regard:


how long until that boat

arrives at your museum?


And if you were to film its course or paint it,

would it look like puzzle pieces


on a cut of silk

ravens on a kimono?
















Asked how she came to marry my father

my mother told me:

a star by itself isn’t a star


The past is a character

who only appears so the present will turn


down the alley, etc. We

stain ourselves, bleed


the ground, white clothes, each other. The war

will end or won’t, the bees go back


to their circular relations. The discrepancies become


     yet another part


 of the still accruing whole.














This is about where we live. In a body, or

we are bodies of something non-literary

in nature. The stuff of omens and portents.


And “we may say that the proper magnitude is comprised within such limits,

that the sequence of events, according to the law of probability or necessity,

will admit of a change from bad fortune to good, or from good

fortune to bad” but that

one cannot have one’s face

changed then change

it back again


In Hades only drastic measures help. The project becomes the interrogation of the wor(l)d. You make it up—what’s human—as you go along.















You carry your life with you, the world in your whirled

clouds of event, horizons of

mismanaged response & you

call me Recidivist? 


Let’s tack west towards the armory windows or the rococo scenes in the seminary


We can eat kumquats, and kiwis, and starfruit

wear Russian wool, or

like trees

dress ourselves in gaudy colors

even as we lose our leaves
















Erik Anderson's recent work has appeared in The Laurel Review,
Witness, Fou, The Collagist, and Page Boy, among others. His book, The
Poetics of Trespass, is forthcoming in Spring 2010 from OtisBooks/Seismicity Editions.