Poems from The End of America Book 13, Part 1

by: Mark Wallace

In this first installment of a two-part series, Mark Wallace takes stock of our current moment, crafting a poetry that explores our multi-level confusion while articulating our shared, pervasive sense of having lost the thread of not only our own narrative, but of the world’s: “it’s over in the old/ way it’s over/ in the new, I/ can walk only/ out and be/ here…”

Here comes

the crane to lift the

+++++crates off the docks

goods in motion

++++++++++++++++people in motion

++++++++++++++++the surge
++++++++++++++++grip and heave

+++++nothing staying still

+++++music and liquor right

+++++++++++outside the steady cubicle

+++++++++++++++++++++the worker

++++++++++++++++there and there again

+++++++++++at last gone too

Even sitting quietly

++++++++++++++++one cannot stay

some mourn the move some

+++++celebrate it, laugh, all changing

+++++the motion of it, not

+++++++++++the fact of motion

I don’t wonder that you
+++++are gone or I am,

++++++++++++++++that we collided,
curled, touched fingers touched

+++++++++++the air, I
+++++++++++wonder that we don’t

know better how to

+++++recognize the impression of

++++++++++++++++each other

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++on our bodies

+++++++++++how to let it

+++++++++++++++++++++slip away

how to see ourselves already


+++++++++++++++++++++into the distance



You can look

+++++++++++for something out

side to save you

+++++++++++wood path down

+++++++++++into the ravine I run

+++++where the dried-up river hits

+++++++++++its bottom the radical

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++poets take

each other out, so

++++++++++++++++much boredom

+++++so much war-ripped

+++++++++++++++++++++concrete cracking

surge of massive

++++++++++++++++economic abstraction

+++++a walk in the park after

+++++++++++the sun comes up maybe

+++++++++++++++++++++I want to bring

my hands back to who

++++++++++++++++they might touch
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++in the long

+++++moments between what

++++++++++++++++I know and think

++++++++++++++++I know

strollers in the flat

++++++++++++++++afternoon sun

+++++labor’s well-divided rooms

+++++paying out the calculated
+++++++++++++++++++++sickness wage

+++++++++++and who
+++++++++++talks about wishing

to recover oneself, street

+++++and people leaning on poles and polls


++++++++++++++++my own body’s non

++++++++++++++++responsive responsiveness

+++++it’s over in the old
++++++++++++++++way it’s over

+++++++++++in the new, I

+++++can walk only
++++++++++++++++out and be

++++++++++++++++here, this

++++++++++++++++neighborhood microbe


+++++++++++++++++++++through the coursing


Mark Wallace is the author and editor of more than fifteen books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and essays. Most recently he has published a novel, Crab, and book-length prose poem, Notes from the Center on Public Policy. Selections of his multi-part long poem The End of America, which he has been writing since 2005, have appeared in numerous publications. He lives in San Diego, California.

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