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  4. Bluegrass by Gabriel Gomez

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sound knots
pinned to a fabric-less body form of oak bone
a barreled chest
the presence of acoustic music over the instrument
resting on your lap
a limited vehicle               but you knew that
having learned tablature
the guitar posed in sculpture
clear its throat by reaching the oval gap flushed
against stomach into its curious sound
gather fingers around an inexhaustible voice and play the strings

bread shaped to song as we ate and fidgeted
the pitch of river
frozen to stillness           a film
reeled and taut
swelling water
oily in its cold
steps before it hardens
an utterance before song is shaped
a compression of freezing water
eating away at its own babbling face

where are the boxes of clothes
the newspaper to scoop inside of cups
feel free to comment
miss nothing as of chewing a new food
these are features of comfort
a lower altitude,
moved further but           no egg crate to snug the ends of the hutch
a chimera of tempered sand
speak of her house absolved by the wiping ocean
speak of her name by way of mountains
the mirrors          silver flaking for the edges of the mirrors
leaving only glass             unreflective patches
the promised half
the unanswerable ruin of aperture                       begging
from where you haven’t seen yourself in years

Gabriel Gomez, "Bluegrass" from The Outer Bands. Copyright © 2007 by Gabriel Gomez. Reprinted by permission of Gabriel Gomez.
Source: The Outer Bands (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007)

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  • Poet, editor, playwright, and journalist Gabriel Gomez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He earned a BA at the College of Santa Fe and an MFA at St. Mary’s College of California.

    Gomez is the author of the poetry collection The Outer Bands (2007), which was chosen by Valerie Martinez as the 2006 winner of the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize. He has also been awarded a writing residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

    Gomez’s poetry is rooted in images of the body and landscape. His work explores the intersection of cultural, personal, and political heritage in forms that at once nod to traditional and experimental modes, and include everything from pastiche to found language. As Craig Santos Perez noted in a review of The Outer Bands for Latino Poetry Review, Gomez “inventively makes audible what is ultimately ‘inaudible for poetry,’ from the transformations of glaciers to the vows...

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