Two Poems

Rae Armantrout

ObjectAt a stately pace,this clumpof bubblestours the perimeterof the cup.“Living systemsmake the mostof a set ofimposed constraints.”As our hostagesituation guestsaid earlierBelief systemsare parodies.Glass lampstandin the shapeof a bongat an upscale hotelin Berkeley.Objectsthat self-identifyas fadsvs. those that won’t.Slender and blond,the poplarhas wanderedinto its presentform Object PermanenceWhat if the abilityto captureemblems in the wildwon’t validate us?What if displayingour embarrassing flawswon’t save us—say being deadbut kittenish?I can’t show you anythingnew, not evenan empty roombehind a velvet rope.Least of all that!There’s a Lexusspinning in a parking lotbecause a mountain road is“so cliché.”It’s throwing up dust, then more,but you know the car’sstill in theresomewhere.still voguing

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Rae  Armantrout

Rae Armantrout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of fourteen books of poetry. She has published nine books with Wesleyan University Press, including Entanglements, Partly, and Versed.

Poems written on the shifting ground of imminent systemic collapse

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Rae Armantrout is at once a most intimate and coolly calculating poet. If anyone could produce a hybrid of Charlie Chaplin’s playful “Little Tramp” and Charlize Theron’s fierce “Imperator Furiosa,” it would be Armantrout. Her language is unexpected yet exact, playing off the collective sense that the shifting ground of daily reality may be a warning of imminent systemic collapse. While there are glimmers here of what remains of “the natural world,” the poet confesses the human failings, personal and societal, that have led to its devastation. No one’s senses are more acutely attuned than Armantrout’s, which makes her an exceptional observer and reporter of our faults. She leaves us wondering if the American Dream may be a nightmare from which we can’t awaken. Sometimes funny, sometimes alarming, the poems in Wobble play peek-a-boo with doom.

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