Carol Szamatowicz, Part Two

by: Carol Szamatowicz

These poems by Carol Szamatowicz speak of the desire to be both grounded in the urgency of lived experience (“the outside is the wrong side/ to leave from” & “leaves dirt seeds beds weeds”) and need for protection and isolation (“the only way to win a gunfight/ is to not be there”). The great discovery we find in them is that that these desires are not opposing, they are conjoined, forming a “two foot relaxed perch stance” because in the end “all I love is you.”


First I’ve Heard

I knew you were over here
with your nose in a book
nerves chased out and chastised
they’re not where you are
bees fill the atrium
phantom bulbs
all I love is you
so you won’t be on your own
listen to yourself
will that be enough?
for as long as you can stand it


For Alex

I count too much on aimlessness
with its tall stories
if it weren’t for the cold
I’d be aimless all the time

Which way does the warm air push?
we are summoned and misplaced
by our keepers
unseen and seen

Objects come out of storage
into early a.m. light
saved from perishing
warm or cold

Look at stairs
they undo everything
the outside is the wrong side
to leave from

There are snow peas in the garden
coffee in the pot
I’ve uncovered the faithful
leaves dirt seeds buds weeds

I thought change free
a conscious arranging
in schematic (domestic) form
the stuff we call up

Leased and puzzled strategies
of a barely known plan
a sharper and more precise
menace buried


I Never Give Gifts

You prolong the predicate
on what grounds?
soot settles while we dawdle
a seagull is a bird of prey
my heart kicks to a stop
my final forms fail
others knot around a kiosk
shooting the shit
they have one sucker between them
a garden with orange honeysuckle root
dative recipient
I ask a kid to do a non-self-serving thing
she plays dead
“Humans die of drone attacks”
“Animals starve during the night”
“Lice are like fireflies”
“A louse is tired out, doesn’t feel well, then dies”
cow parsnip (wild celery) chives (wild garlic)
tied around the neck for protection
from repercussive words and pictures
climbing to the top bunk
when the ladder gives way

A child trapped in a stroller speaks to a wren
one would say crestfallen, nonplussed
when the wren doesn’t answer
(it usually does)

A young man with his bed roll, skateboard and dappled dog
smiles at a young woman under a pink parasol
they look alike
then his face goes blank, lifeless in the heat
she brushes crumbs off her folder

I’m buying a scandium-framed pocket revolver
for preparedness which is trivial
no I’m not
I stay away from bar crowds, rock concerts and meat markets
the only way to win a gun fight
is not be there
saves money too

I’m against too tight a love, too taut
do not approve of the dancer’s erect carriage
though I love her drive
I like sneakers and swiveling hips
a two foot relaxed perch stance
I don’t see organs as separate, are they?


To supplement her poet’s existence and to raise a daughter, Carol Szamatowicz been an elementary, junior high, and high school teacher in the West and East Villages, Gramercy, and Chinatown since 1985. She has written a bevy of books including Cats and Birds (Stuyvesant Books, 1998), Reticular Pop-Ups (Insurance Editions, 2004), and I am Kit Carson (Forthcoming from Ten Editions, 2016) to name a few.

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