John Godfrey




Words of excitation    
                        strain vanity
Genre of the future
                        same sort of skin
Whistle in the smoke
                        Drop fare in
the box of extradition
                        Magician fakes a bus

A night made for
                        ultra-light planes
Pull away from likeness
                        It’s too much to portage
Redirection of scorn towards
                        base contingency
Ugly catharsis is…
Physically negligent
                        and credulous

Everyone has a reason as
                        our first film demonstrates
You’d be alive were it closer
                        Skin even darker when pressed
Breath flavored apple
            Sudden manifestation
                        of stability
Wrong has so much on its side
                        About the status
of, I’m sorry, your rescue


Blindside Space


I forget but life
                        rejects that sort
            On the backstretch
                    wild things
                                      are nothings
Don’t nobody put
                             game in ya shell
Take deep truck to
                              oxbow in Queens

Fold self in
                  foil waste
Burnt tarmac
            in backstage mind

                                     carbon swords
                 Nitrous hive
                                     of citadins
                  Subliminal fries
                                            on the side

O the public stuffs
                for neon dawn
            Said better
                             outrage my own silence
Pop-up feelings
                          too quick to purify

Uninhibited raunchings
Infected right forehead
            shrinks ref
                        for the count

Variable blindside
               space love
                        erotic temples
            Hierarchies in time loop

      Beggars act as big as me
                        when steps are wet


One Air

There is one air over the wall
It is a stride ahead this Friday
Land falls like raw sugar and the poisoned flood
kicks plastic out of their teeth
Speed gun on theatrical skies
Can’t go through this alone
Still there are too many in town

Eye-candy rumpled stunner runs in flood
stretched sweats across brown Texas skin
while those with only wrapping cloths
covered heads above river
to Bangladeshi mud scarp
Sky as overfilled sieve and
grave as salve    nothing to nothingness eyes
Whimper little baby    Little baby cry


Nothing Floats


There’s a time
                        you don’t just
                                               measure by
                Then there are options
                              They call me out                       
                        by name
                                      Design the beach
where nothing floats ashore
                                    and you recall
                           when we first meet
Intense looks
                     Need and inconvenience
                                    thieve autonomy
from collective default

                        Remedy of Fortune
can be rejected
                        Waste area
                  in neglect
                            seeks open-toed shoes


More Spin

Live big in tattered world

            Smallness and harm
                        on trapeze swing

Bird returns shit downwind
                             to super world

                 Honest crafty eyes
                  Mental hand
                                    lightly on
                                                    actual flesh
                        by gravesite of coral

You see her and no other
                        original shape
                                               she lives in

                 Later more spin
                 Throwback motive


John Godfrey's most recent collection is The City Keeps:
New and selected poems 1966-2014
 (Wave Books, 2016).


Published September 2018.