Poetry by Graham Foust

Image by Andrea Coates / andreacoates.com

after W.C. Williams

As it happens, most failures, which are most of what happens,
are like my having collapsed on stage but with the curtain down.

Some of them, though, are like having, with a touch,
knocked over a huge imaginative structure to which

I’d been adding for what felt like a thousand years.
So I lie with myself, unsure how long I’ve been here:

curtains and furniture; clouds that build and cling.
Hard up for wet blossoms, more trivia slithers in;

music gets easily confused again with place,
and only not living forever is all that’s the case.




In my phone and kind of knowing where the sun was,
my crushed double finished work that I’d begun.
The day’d bored into me; every song went “like this.”
I practiced many a removal. You could’ve said I was a van.
And there was almost more to life, the money out there
gaping, a much-elated dread that even theory won’t forbid,
and in the light-soaked scene of online banking,
my inner voice of prudence left out principled language—
all prudence all the time, a virtue possessed by grass
and by rats—and if its sentences touched one another
like states, they touched me that way, too; they programmed.
Imagined at large, the world was more ward than field,
and as I slept for real, I saw the achingest scene—
Saint Paul headless, Saint Peter still clutching his keys—
and then the blanched car’s abstraction like a print’s third pull,
its impulsive disabling of my reverie, of me,
to which I said “Which future? What’s above this?”
before I uncraved and then pretended not to’ve moved,
the woman across from me screaming to her friend
“He has this truly awful laugh but they’re in love!”



Bury it. Dig it up. Chew on it. Repeat.
Dactyl. Dactyl. Dactyl. Iamb.
Trochee. Trochee. Trochee. Trochee.


Thoughts are like parts that you can almost feel.

Have one like a ribbon up your throat.



Graham Foust’s most recent book is Time Down to Mind (Flood Editions, 2014). He is Director of Undergraduate Studies in English at the University of Denver.