Poems by Sam Taylor


I try to write the words of your body

musclewood, half-tuned

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

palacious, salacious

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



The Last Sun Dance

                        Kiowas, 1890

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.


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