Kenneth E. Harrison, Jr.


Reading Milton


Where I found myself pallidus holding back

from the threshold that brought me there

I confess no song no dove as the body works

...never but in unapproachèd light/Dwelt from

the nerves a system of dead wires unpeopled

“flush” “seize” “impulse” “consumation” “I”

where I found myself pale and holding back

as all men do cried out as the heart does rattle

no sensation undone the carnival wheels out



Reading Plato


Now left forgotten however certain light

‘s becoming not a matter of an image

I’ve made neither myself nor seasons

above geese taking flight or a mountain

left there to warm surely as the spoon

stood the coffee configuring its relations

to dusk never a retreat nor symbolic

action as glazed as we make them just

the sort of being no knowing will recognize



Reading Apollinaire


As water flows over a flattened can

a book shuttles the reader

par les villages sans églises

grazed pastures

few of us gathered in willingly

to fill an entire horizon

littered as sides of highways under rain

no town worth those weighted ages

a loose fanbelt squeals to catch


Note: The quoted lines in “Reading Milton” and “Reading Apollinaire” are from Paradise Lost and “Saltimbanques,” respectively.