The Poetry Storehouse

great contemporary poems for creative remix

Bill Yarrow – poems


 
 
March/June 2014

1. I Am Not a Corpse (with audio by author)
…. - Video remix by Paul Broderick
2. Annulling the Future (with audio by author)
3. Bats in the Catacomb (with audio by the author & Nic Sebastian)
…. - Still image remix by Nic Sebastian
4. Before the Door (with audio by the author)

December 2013

1. Need (with double audio)
…. - Video remix by Nic Sebastian
2. Bees in the Eaves (with double audio)
…. - Video remix by Marc Neys
…. - Video remix by Paul Broderick
3. Florid Psychosis (with audio)
…. - Video remix by Othniel Smith
4. Knot Eye (with audio)
5. Startle Reflex (with audio)

 
 
I Am Not A Corpse
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
A corpse cannot cry. A man who cannot

cry is a corpse. I am not a corpse, alas.

If I were, I’d be in a suit. If I were, I’d be

the main event, the center of attention.

All the vultures would be my friends.

All the grubs would love me.

I’d be in touch with dirt, the slime divine,

the slutty mud, the lovely muck.

Or something a little more incendiary,

a mite more vital, robust, fume inducing.

Back to my thesis: a corpse cannot cry.

The tear ducts are bankrupt in death.

There’s a haughtiness that sets in, that

sees in raw emotion its sour avatar.

 
 
Video remix by Paul Broderick

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Annulling the Future
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio 
If you can’t consummate tomorrow
you may as well just annul the future.
That bride is a sticky risk anyway.
Look at her—ruffles in all the wrong
places. Her perfume stinks of wrinkle
cream. She uses bleach to keep her
complexion stiff. She’s infested with
multiple lovers from the past. She’s
not the future you remember. Her
bones are porous from overexertion.
Her glands are full of pride. You see
that push-up look in her eyes? How
beautiful she looks in the indigo shade.
She is a maid of weaponized affection.


 
 
Bats in the Catacomb
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
(Read by Nic Sebastian)
download audio
It begins innocently, in the third person,
but ends defeated, in the first. The sun,
improbably, begins to thunder. The hills,
impossibly, begin to rain. Black dew
appears on the lintels of the paupers’
doors. Garter snakes form an alphabet
decipherable only by birds. From the wind,
we learn there’s a knotted form of everything.
Across the world, nothing is aligned. Not
ecstasy. Not loneliness. Not jobs. Dreams
of being a millionaire are replaced by dreams
of being a billionaire. That is to say, breakfast
is no longer being served. Talk is so cheapened
the primeval language of desire stays shapeless.

- First appeared in Istanbul Literary Review. Reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX, 2012).

 
 
Still image remix by Nic Sebastian

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Before the Door
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
You just can’t believe your key
won’t open the front door anymore.
Determined to prove reality wrong,
you board a flight to Budapest
and walk wet streets in search of
a keyhole you’re convinced exists.
And when you find it on the side door
of the Nicolae Bakery, your wry heart,
rapt with vindication, laughs heartily.
The key works! It really works!
But you don’t enter. You don’t dare.
Time passes. The seasons alter.
The world gives birth to triplets.
People drop hot pennies into your hat.

- First appeared in Atticus Review. Reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX, 2012).

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Need
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
(Read by Nic Sebastian)
download audio
I knew I needed to visit a beach
made entirely of sharks’ teeth
and on that beach I knew I would find
ivory binoculars left by a vegan birder
and with those binoculars I knew I could see
into the windows of a shoreline luncheonette
and in that luncheonette I knew I’d find
my step uncle propositioning a leggy waitress
and I thought of my aunt, her failing eyes,
a thousand miles away on a dirty beach
looking for signs of onyx-colored birds
and I knew I had to visit that beach
for I too wanted to see those birds
and I had the binoculars necessary

- First appeared A-Minor, reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012).

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Video remix by Nic Sebastian


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Bees in the Eaves
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
(Read by Nic Sebastian)
download audio
We write in darkness. We love
in alleys. We breathe into beige
paper bags. Anything to mollify
the confusion. Anything to simplify
the math. I am beset, even by rest.
And when I close my eyes, the world
is still macaronic. I feel for the wolf
about to be trapped in the landfill.
I feel for the crab about to scamper
from the net. I feel for humanity when
the brightness of sick knowledge falls
from exorbitant air. But remedies
abound. There’s a remedy for everything.
And a remedy for every remedy.

- First appeared Mad Hatters’ Review. It was reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012).

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Video remix by Marc Neys (aka Swoon)
 



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Video remix by Paul Broderick


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Florid Psychosis
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
On the advice of a friend, I’ve stopped
dreaming. As a result, I’ve developed
a florid psychosis in which everything
I’ve dreamed for the last thirty-three years
is now real. I have new friends, a new job,
my dead relatives have all come back, I’m
half my weight, have all my hair, reside in
Prague. It’s February 1924. Kafka won’t die
until June. Freud’s 67. He’s just published
The Ego and the Id. My superego refuses
to read it. Lotte Reininger is working on
the cutouts for Prince Achmed. I bought
a radio embroidered with pearls. I tuned it
to the future, but it only plays the sleepy past.

- First appeared new aesthetic, reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012) and Ivory Tower.

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Video remix by Othniel Smith


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Knot Eye
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
The diagnosis was peculiar, the doctors agreed,
but so was the condition. He had knot eye.
He was unable to see a piece of string, but he
could see the knot. He was unable to make out
a plank, but he could see the darkened whorl.
He was unable to see his girlfriend’s discomfort,
but he saw her stomach tighten as they discussed
Thanksgiving. She wanted to get married. He was
afraid. Their bickering led to lumpy disagreements,
but he knew sooner or later they’d fall back into
each other’s arms. That’s the way it is with the world.
What waits for us at the end is embrace. He stared
into the large mirror in her living room and watched
as she wound her stringy arms around his skinny neck.

-First appeared in new aesthetic, reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012).

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Startle Reflex
(Read by Bill Yarrow)
download audio
I’m decades in and it hasn’t gone away.
In all other respects, I am normal. Life
is hard, but I’m not complaining. The thing
is, I am in a constant state of falling. I say
something and I fall through my words. I eat
something and I fall through my food. I step
on the accelerator and I fall right through
the road. I hardly sleep. Dreams are literally
pitfalls. On my last birthday, I was given
a harness. To trick my mind into thinking
I was tied to something. I hooked it to the
radiator and ventured out the door. The straps
broke and I went sprawling. That descent still
hasn’t ended, but how long can one truly fall?

- First appeared Prick of the Spindle, reprinted in Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012).

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About Bill:

Bill Yarrow is the author of Pointed Sentences, a full-length collection of poems from BlazeVOX and four chapbooks— The Lice of Christ from MadHat Press, Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku from Červená Barva Press, Fourteen from Naked Mannekin Press and Wrench from Erbacce Press. He has been published in many print and online journals including Poetry International, PANK, Thrush, DIAGRAM, Contary, and RHINO. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College where he teaches creative writing, film, and Shakespeare.

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5 thoughts on “Bill Yarrow – poems

  1. Pingback: Need by Bill Yarrow | Moving Poems

  2. Pingback: “Anything I create belongs to anyone who wants it”: an interview with Bill Yarrow | Moving Poems Forum

  3. Pingback: New additions – 7 April 2014 | The Poetry Storehouse

  4. Pingback: Bees in the Eaves by Bill Yarrow | Moving Poems

  5. Pingback: New additions – 16 June 2014 | The Poetry Storehouse

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