Three Poems by James Capozzi




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Like Kings

And who is to say
When we are here in our bed

That we are not
To rule

Because you refuse to rule us
To study you

Because you are remiss
In your study of us

Only one who is truly weak
Would dismiss a man as weak as us

You feel you are inferior
To us therefore

You rule those
Who feel superior

To us
They all confess in time

We have our sources
You will

Forget love anyway
Tell us your crimes


All Religion Has the Same Object

not at all distant from its surface – contiguous to it or separate
by an interval so small as to be imperceptible – nor is it stars
or permanent bodies produced and dissolved – it varies
in duration, lasting as many as one hundred years or mere
seconds – its shape continually changes – it varies in darkness,
appearing at times to condense and at others to spread out
and rarefy – sometimes dividing into three or four or several
unite into one – ordered movement, uniform motion in parallel
lines across the face of the sun

as one in the morning, stepping from throes of nighttime pining
like a lovesick idiot in a Russian novel, might dissemble in a batch
of workers belched by train to rise up through the street no sweat,
somewhat watched over by OSHA and inflatable rat – by the house
plant’s turning on its sill toward twenty minutes of sun each day –
eternal sun on your bodily surface in summer, fever of live fullness,
but separate from the actual season peaking at hand – torch
noise pries open a rut in the street – ballad in your earbud blooms
as train doors split

it’s easy to get all emotional about it – to get emotional about it rise
up go out through the street get knocked sideways yes – it expects
everything from people but tries to give of itself as much as possible,
sometimes in terror at night – for hours each night it might slam and
rattle glass panels leaned against a scaffold, rousting a flock of lost
jays that hides a streetlamp – it reminds me intensely of you, emerging
from harsh cones of streetlamped light into the softness of the museum’s
marble wing – its constant arriving unannounced, in moments that mean
everything then end

we go forward, we are in love, we tell each other every day by devotions
grown intense but less articulate – it’s already here in this year of our lord
– at central parts and also the edges, a petition of the universe that governs
every surface with elegance – an orrery foremost, luxuriating in the logic
of its own pleasure and movement, garish about it – take for example this
comet stroked along the glow of its arc – take as proof beyond reproach its
vein of iron oxide scarring strata of subsurface rock, merging into repeated
patterns – around a sparked torch, still at its work – years have flown by like
no time at all


Let the Tribe Increase

Let the king speak of history: it returns for an encore.
Let the king speak our curse: it is born and performs
a man’s name, so that man is good as dead.
If we are gashed by visions of a rhizomatic cosmos
one king or another has willed it into being
and zoned it, so cry bloody murder to the gods.
They’re covered over by the sea, in their infinite pods
as the ozone layer dies for good—
the earth’s animals all go insane.
Let a parasitic spore decimate what’s left of us
freezers on the moon’s dark side stash millions of bodies
a door come to earth and speak like a person.
It speaks gently, as if its victims don’t exist.
Three babies are born at the height of a total eclipse.


James Capozzi is the author of Country Album (Parlor Press, 2012), which won the New Measure Poetry Prize. Recent work has appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Prelude Magazine, and Posit Journal. He lives in New Jersey.