Current Resident

I am practicing to die
******each time I lie down—
like tonight, reading—
******an old man living

minutes from his ancestral
******village that exists now
only in his mind, in
******the heaviness of a key

that opens a lock
******to a door that exists
only in his mind. I fight
******my eyes as they keep

closing doors on this day.
******He holds fast to past,
vivid as olives plucked
******from a gone orchard

and held beneath the lip
******of his untucked
shirt, until he must descend
******the limbs. The rocky ground

is the present giving
******way. Each time I rise
I am practicing to live,
******which means to forget

yesterday, and to forget
******to forget. Each time
we lie about what happened
******we dream what happened

happened again. When
******we wake, we lie, halfway
between two states—
******dreaming and dreaming.

*

Philip Metres is the author and translator of a number of books and chapbooks, including Sand Opera (forthcoming Alice James 2015), I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky (forthcoming 2014), Compleat Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Poetic Texts of Lev Rubinstein (Ugly Duckling Presse forthcoming 2014), A Concordance of Leaves (Diode 2013), abu ghraib arias (Flying Guillotine 2011), To See the Earth (Cleveland State 2008), and Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941 (University of Iowa 2007). His work has appeared in Best American Poetry, numerous journals and anthologies, and has garnered two NEA fellowships, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, five Ohio Arts Council Grants, the Beatrice Hawley Award (for the forthcoming Sand Opera), two Arab American Book Awards, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Anne Halley Prize, and a Russian Institute of Translation grant. He is a 2014 Creative Workforce Fellow. The Creative Workforce Fellowship is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, supported by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. He is professor of English at John Carroll University in Cleveland. http://www.philipmetres.com

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