Home > New Classics > So soft his neck, so distant from the thought of stone

So soft his neck, so distant from the thought of stone

May 13, 2010

by Jee Leong Koh

So soft his neck, so distant from the thought of stone,
I am appalled to see it pass into a stone.

That night swam for so long and slipped out of my hands.
Tonight it is as clear as fossil in the stone.

I come from a small country of large alterations,
where stone erects no memory for passing stone.

Somebody is fucking somebody in a corner.
Everybody juts as if released from stone.

Why have you come to kill this mutant, strong young man?
Hack off my head, and I will still turn flesh to stone.

There is a slippery slope in things that lie down flat.
In all coming and going speeds there is a stone.

He is not dead, I tell you, he is merely sleeping.
The rest of you move back. Jee, roll away the stone.


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Jee Leong Koh is the author of two books of poems, Payday Loans and Equal to the Earth (Bench Press). His poems have appeared in Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press) and Best Gay Poetry (A Midsummer’s Night Press), and in LA Review, Drunken Boat and PN Review, among other journals. Born in Singapore, he lives in New York City, and blogs at Song of a Reformed Headhunter.

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  1. Peg
    May 15, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Ghazal! I’m fond of the form, and you’ve used it to carve some arresting moments here – “Everybody juts as if released from stone” is one such, and something about the progression of the last three stanzas – the freezing of flesh into stone — > the in-between-ness of sleeping with someone or merely sleeping — > the coming and going inherent in a resurrection — I love how six lines can hold so much.

  2. JJS
    June 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Ghazal mastery. This is everything the form must be, and takes me everywhere.

    Medusa, Lazarus, Hypnos or Endymion, a stone corner full of urgency and elegy. I love this piece.

  3. Alex
    December 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    A beautiful poem. Congratulations on the nomination, Jee.

  1. December 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm
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