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there

March 2, 2010 Comments off

by Peter Schwartz

the trenches are glowing
and it’s there that you’ll find your
most indigenous mountains

your fauna and fixtures
your dry salvation, there you’ll
learn movement doesn’t

need punctuation, there you’ll
give up that precious separate
the catalog of wrongs

you carry like a scarecrow
everywhere you go, there
you’ll see how the heat

of every possible sequel
burns into the ozone with
or without you, there

you’ll learn that
truth is only truth
by residue


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Peter Schwartz (website) has more styles than a Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon. He’s been published on such sites as: Arsenic Lobster, Mannequin Envy, Opium Magazine, 42 Opus, 5 Trope and Verdad, and such print journals as: Asheville Poetry Review, Knock, Neon and VOX. His third chapbook ghost diet is forthcoming with Altered Crow Press.

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in the trade

February 24, 2009 9 comments

I’ve been collecting
ghosts, stamps, pins
my coins of doubt

even though all they’ll
buy are more ghosts, real
only in the way

that small things
can be, our imperfect
worlds hung up

on tired clothes
lines.

the girls joke that soon
I’ll need a second room
that no one

should need this many
memories, so I pinch my
arm between

waltzes to be with
them, they’re kind
and I can.

so here I am
another pair of pearled
hips at 3:00 A.M.

praying in the fickle
manner of soldiers for
the sphinx to open

his wavelength
in my skull.

can you see me?
I’m prone as a telephone
trading gridlocked

bodies for infinite
rows of dreaming

awake but never
more than six feet
from my bed.

I’m pretty in this—
my little prison
of the obvious

the visitations
have changed, they’re
threadbare

like the house
negligee I wear
and don’t

like anything left
out in the animal
kingdom.

in the end, even
the power of my
nakedness

is denied; I’m mute
wallpaper, whispering
just to catch

my breath.

by Peter Schwartz and Colette Jonopulos

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Process notes

Peter writes:
Colette Jonopulos is my best friend in the whole world. What’s odd about that is I’ve never met her. I came into contact with Colette when I submitted work to Tiger’s Eye (which she co-edits) in Spring of 2007. She was kind and wise and funny, so I kept writing her back and never stopped.

I came to poetry seriously at about the end of 2003. Well, that’s when I started publishing. I don’t think I was very good until about 2007. Anyway, Colette was born writing poetry and has attended and ran many workshops and seminars. She’s a true student of the craft. So, I often read her my work over the phone and she points out the one or two lines that are utterly ridiculous. Gently, of course.

So it was natural that I came to her with “in the trade,” one of my truest “character” poems to date. It’s from the point of view of a lonely prostitute and since I’m not even a woman, I thought maybe Colette could add some reality to the piece. And she did. I won’t tell you which lines were hers but if you love one in particular — it’s probably hers.