Seth Graves     


The Bluebird Café

The Author Paints a Picture


The Bluebird Café 

An imbrication of waters
And a helpless drug or just

Insouciance in Amsterdam
Just space

As where “we” was
I held my voice

It’s just

And plucked the pronoun
Out of the pollinia

—And gave “we” “it”
Like the beast with the flower (and the bird)

D.H. uncouth not
Disney uncouth—

While the bees croaked
And it got colder

—“Chasing Ice,”
Said The National Geographic—

I sneezed in and we warmed out
In a thousand-year-old bar

Down a hundred-year-old jenever bottle
A mere veneer of tape noting the nomenclature

When the keeper finished his night
He finished ours

He pulled down the traps and told his story
Which I promised you wouldn’t receive


The Author Paints a Picture

A long time ago, when the moon 
orbited the earth much more closely,

And the waves crashed in a style 
much more representative of Leviathan nightmare,

I brought a ladder to the moon, 
and I painted it green. 

And as the moon receded from the earth, 
threatened by the planet’s heterogeneity,

I rode out to the prairie 
and painted the sky green.

And when the HOA inspector came to say
my house needed full rejuvenation,

I painted every wall, door and pipe 
a firm shade of green.

Slowly, my world began to seem green, 
until I stumbled down the stairs and crashed

into neighborhood telephone poles.
A boy read this poem and said to me, 

the author paints a picture.


Seth Graves is a candidate for the Ph.D. in English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and teaches at Pace University and the New York City College of Technology. His journalism, poetry, reviews, and interviews have appeared variously, recently in Coldfront; H_NGM_NBarrow StreetNo, DearLa FoveaVAYAVYA; and The Boiler Journal.