Poem: Variation on a Theme by Elizabeth Bishop

The remix, the allusion, the pulling one thing from the previous, even when it doesn’t really feel as if it’s your previous, and making one thing of the second with it. Riffing off Elizabeth Bishop, this chronicle of loss is not only a catalog of loss however a lesson: Typically we all know who we’re by remembering what we’ve misplaced. “Be taught to lose as if/your life relied on it. Be taught that your life depends upon it.” And but, it’s not pessimistic; as an alternative, it’s a reminder — of how solely the residing can quantity their losses.

By John Murillo

Begin with loss. Lose all the things. Then lose all of it once more.
Lose a very good lady on a nasty day. Discover a higher lady,
then lose 5 mates chasing her. Be taught to lose as if
your life relied on it. Be taught that your life depends upon it.
Be taught it like karate, like using a motorbike. Be taught it, grasp it.
Lose cash, lose time, lose your pure thoughts.
Get left behind, then be taught to depart others. Lose and
lose once more. Measure a father’s coffin towards a cousin’s
crashing T-cells. Kiss your sister via jail glass.
Know why your lady’s not answering her cellphone.
Lose sleep. Lose faith. Lose your pockets in El Segundo.
Open your window. Pay attention: the final sluggish notes
of a Donny Hathaway music. A baby crying. Pay attention:
a drunk man is cussing out the moon. He appears like
your lifeless uncle, who, earlier than he left, misplaced a leg
to sugar. Disgrace. Be taught what’s given will be taken;
what will be taken, will. This you’ll be able to wager on with out
shedding. Certain as dusk and an empty mattress. Lose
and lose once more. Lose till it’s second nature. Shedding
farther, shedding quicker. Lean out your open window, pay attention:
the kid is laughing now. No, it’s the drunk man once more
on the street, shedding his voice, struggling every invisible star.

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and lawyer. He created the Million Guide Mission, an initiative to curate microlibraries and set up them in prisons throughout the nation. His newest assortment of poetry, “Felon,” explores the post-incarceration expertise. In 2019, he received a Nationwide Journal Award in essays and criticism for his article within the journal about his journey from teenage carjacker to aspiring lawyer. John Murillo, a finalist for each the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Guide Award, is the writer of the poetry collections “Up Leap the Boogie” (Cypher 2010, 4 Approach Books 2020) and “Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry” (4 Approach Books 2020).

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