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Two Poems by Joshua Stanley


It is time for us now

to talk about my job

we have avoided this

topic for too long

and we must talk about it

I have chosen to be

a union organizer

and a poet not because

there is an easy life

but because it is a

speculative life a

life I know I can want

not a life it is

easy to want now

not a life that I

am rewarded by daily

but a life for a future completion

company balances with solitary

a life / I believe

in a bigger imagination

and it is on that that /

I want /

we must make it cohere

the possible imagination

of a different vision

nervousness happiness

to complete the words

pink cloud accession

human / we must /

for whom is this song

it is for me and for

no-one and for everyone

who is or for who / is yet / is yet to be

elaborated decadence

I will not miss the chance of

my life / to write my own


and to write the imagination

of a fading spirit of power

through work or for the

jobless we must talk

about it we must

make it cohere

the holy order to love

through skies strikes occasionally clear

eye sights that come and go.



Ash willow

work language

sepias in its name

you find me

and do the songs


do they

sing a song of

chancing air,

con sung off

course continue.

Bright now hear me

of sat and listened

write the names on board

flower backstop

a mother’s milk and blindness,

I ask the question why

continue to song flight,

does life absorb

through struggle,

contra backwards,

in what

does easiness imagine of course

rippling down the stream

May and a


months of strife

the words continued


emplacements plasticked

new arctic

under pressure

no flesh knows no one war land

oil to come in thine is the glory

tax decrease

or socialism set for rich.

Have I lost enough

to make sense

of becoming normal sing

passion curve

exit to tread

break down the granite

no human

next step of course

in singsong carry

through baby talk endured

others fluttered.

Ambition for


it masks the soul

to burn

what in our doors

we learn

our politics is what

to earn.

Ancient coin

we’re fucked by luck

says simply system city,

familial fate

body parts shared

in blood-weaved magic tree.

But when the coin

goes in and out

no longer one but three;

so hand in hand

the gift was tamed

bought by inheritance freely.

Why do I need this, the whole,

land flown joy source, I saw it on

the water and I saw it on the

cloud, I saw it come rising home gator

together, what at that leaf,

flickering heart of you flying over,

I saw it, empired video hand stretched

out, what saw 40% from

80% epic, fragrant time zone

language strange

thrall in another

state controlled

sojourn absence,

blood weather

up ahead.

Moon milk

comes to me

pure vision correct love want /

still music body rock hill tied up

as face looks


drink our fill.

It is the violence to come

that fizzes me,

epoch friend

which you


main see

dull roaring summer

beechams pill capsuled

nationalist odyssey

the long way round

or wrong

the parents having to be found

we press the button

ruin our day.

Nettle parch the blister

truth child desire too much

she knows how much I’ve missed the

stretch decade socialism lost

what do you want top pay

of switch, of what,

hid med cymbals for loud

coping with hand melt juice lab

the made up cure for cash.

Wherein, where end, of why

I saw nothing but the dyson

that nature abhorred, I saw

nothing but the vast landscape

of emptiness stretch out before

me, filling me with the void

and with the absorption of

others and with myself detached

from the planets and neutrinos

around me, filling me with

connection and with desire

and with emptiness, a void

I found in the song that

sang to me and pulled me

to the hill, I saw lips

struggling to sing and I saw

my own choking and the

bells and clicks and tunes and

drawn letters were connected

and the void and I woke up

and I imagined the future corridor

and I was filled with the void

of cupboards and possible voice

and filled with love not at my

expansion into the void, but that the

void contain things so different

from me that in fact I already

was and rhapsodically it shone of forever.

Sometimes songs return

sometimes fade apart


of course

twice bitter

blasted stem yellow

pedal stamen

homeward soon

behind milk

the danger is there

beaten out

went on your way

in happiness.

Void loiter

the sworn switch commitment

uncertain vaults


milk mild

to understand

milk mild

unimportant now

portalled for

sex dreams rapture

so hard to tell these days

milk mild.

Ecstatic fission step by step


understanding you does not matter

what matters is that

I find my own way


and the same is

true of being

understood by you being

specific and singular

as group consensus

is my politics of

militant strategy centralism.

At the table

the void

reaches out to

the void

and with

out end

love love

Joshua Stanley did a PhD at Yale on British romantic poetry and now works as a union organizer for Unite Here. He is a poet and author of, among other pieces, Contranight Escha Black and Romantic Leninist Epic Fragments.

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