Poems by Sam Taylor
I try to write the words of your body
toward and away, steep
these sweeps of turquoise, spiraled and steepled
highway curve rolling over toward a lover
rhomboids yielding a shoulder to the sunlight
bank of asters
water standing up inside
the locked bar, the sealed dairy queen
speaking of hope or hopeless
in the same language, the frogs
still number millions
a moving .38 special
stunned train, split fruit, trick mirror
porchlight couldn’t properly coat
your body even if made
into a series of gasps
sitting round as robin’s eggs in a nest
like stars that have retired
into speech after trying to grasp universal truth
if you were mist, the downwind fallout
I’d fill my bank accounts later and my harbor first
who said God would
a) not sleep through the night
b) trickle down rather than rise up
abalone all alone and still
who said God wood wouldn’t burn bright and long
the world couldn’t properly coat
still, I’m left almost with a voice
They walked through the plains
they hid behind rocks
they sat still as small trees
they galloped without rest
the buffalo were gone.
And where the freshly killed
buffalo head would have been
impaled on the pole, axis mundi,
the center of the world
somebody draped an old hide.
There’s no likeness for this.
Except maybe the bible.
If that book could walk
if that book in a time of famine
could appear and walk out
and open its ribs, and let
each red word be eaten.
Sam Taylor is the author of two books of poems, Body of the World (Ausable/Copper Canyon) and Nude Descending an Empire (Pitt Poetry Series, Fall 2014). Body of the World explores themes of mysticism—of the world as the self—and wrestles with the violence that a unitary vision of the divine must subsume. Nude Descending an Empire develops the lyrical voice of a citizen-poet speaking into history and our contemporary moment.