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Sentences and Corrections

July 1, 2011

by James Brush

The guy from the attorney general’s office
blamed the nouns, sources of all trouble—
people, places, things.

Combined with certain verbs—
assault, distribute, trespass and possess—
these nouns form gangs of complex sentences,
fragments of lives half-lived, and run-ons
rambling through the detritus of car crash lives.

The simplest, though, tell of kids locked up,
looking out at the free, positions of attention
in the parking lot, half-listening
to mockingbirds refining their own syntax,
as they mimic the ringing fire alarm
while we wait to go back inside
where we’ll try, again, writing

sentences that don’t mimic the past,
sentences that aren’t destinies.

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James Brush lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, cat, newborn son and two rescued greyhounds. He teaches English in a juvenile correctional facility. You can find him online at Coyote Mercury, where he keeps a full list of publications.

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  1. July 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Once one has spent any time at all in any part of the justice system, one feels beset by the language issues which definitely mirror the problems of the systemj– “just ice,” as Joni Mitchell once noticed. I especially love the first two stanzas here. thanks, James.

  2. July 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Nicely done!

  1. July 6, 2011 at 1:31 am
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