Anthony Seidman: 5 poems

Anthony Seidman (Los Angeles, 1973) is a poet and translator who has lived for significant stretches of time in Ciudad Juarez and Mexicali.   His most recent collection of poetry is Cosmic Weather (Spuyten Duyvil).  His translations include For Love of the Dollar: A Portrait of the Artist as an Undocumented Immigrant (Unnamed Press) by Mexican “Gonzo-journalist” J.M. Servin; A Stab in the Dark (LARB Classics) by Facundo Bernal, and Smooth-Talking Dog: Poems by Roberto Castillo Udiarte (Phoneme Media).  Later this year, Cardboard House Press will publish his translation of Rodolfo Hinostroza’s Contra Natura. Seidman was a contributing editor for Dispatches from the Poetry Wars.  His work has appeared in journals and anthologies like New American Writing, Latin American Literature Today, World Literature Today, Poetry International, Huizache, Rattle, The Black Herald, Nimrod, The Ecopoetry Anthology, and in Latin American journals like Critica (University of Puebla), Generacion Alternativa (Mexico City), and Aerea (Chile). 

Liner Notes to Forgotten Classic Rock LP

that winter we slept on the dark side 

of the sun where it’s always blustery,

we fed the fireplace remaining wood

then we burned encyclopedias 

and Christmas sweaters even dreidels, 

wolves licked the windows and peered

their red-coal gaze into our coterie

of astronomers who believed in alchemy

and astrologists who believed in gravity

and when someone

(the Ghost of Insomnia?),

(the Ghoul of Gastroenteritis ?),

knocked on the door, 

we hushed one another in our cabin…

pines tumbled further

and further away until we could hear only the black

clouds knitting an impending blizzard,

then Balding Bob: the Specialist in Titan’s organic compounds,

or Pundit Paula: the Cheerleader for Anthropocene Disco, 

would crack open another brewski and 

belch:   sont les neiges d’antan? 

The Victrola was cranked and

Sheik of Araby crackled and Betsy Bo, the Limber

Lady dating from the 1930’s would hop and

ditty and dolly whilst dragging her clubfoot,

and it was then I knew

I had better search for my namesake and leave

that snowy latitude on the sun,

and so I trudged across permafrost,

I fell into ditches of slush revealing plenty of bones,

mastodons rose over the hills, slowly,

such thunder in their strain,



I was almost mauled by smiling Polar Bears

but they stepped on thinning ice-patches,

and plunged into the frigid depths where the magnetic

gaze of sharks are known to suck the strength from iron,

until I descended into a scalding valley,

(sands siroccos camels merchants and date groves etc)

and reached the place I had sought ,

and it was as you may say satisfactory,

my brother all sandals and beard exited from his hut,

and said he had waited a lifetime hibernating 

inside a vial of olive oil,

and so he placed his hands on my burning hair,

and everything smelled of burning coal,

dogs commenced barking,

a woman bathed in a tub of beer,

and I felt the ground beneath my soles combust,

turn to liquid fire 

and lo-and-behold

Imagination returned to surfing the Solar Cowabonga,

so full of pepper

over there where 

bullets melt in your mouth,

but not sweeter than Jane for 

she’s the one,

she’s the one who

melts in your hands. 

Down at Café Bleak-Water

There’s a parrot in an open cage

the parrot knows only two words in a Creole long extinct 

thus they must rhyme or prove a binary and the patrons bet 

on Love / Hate or Birth / Death or Rollings / Beatles or

Ice / Tar or Knife / Gurney or Tin-Can / Pencil and

none of this will be solved and cash grabbed by winning hands 

(nor should it!)

until a philologist or long-haired eater of bovine cud

enter the Café Bleak-Water and ask

about carrion or raincoats or the wild boys who sleep on the shore

In enters Anabelle and she’s hung-over 

asks for a glass of red wine and an aspirin

and today the café teeters between a small town in Normandie

or a derelict side-street in Malibu 

so the beach-bums and plumbers and Good Ol’ Silver-Tooth

along with a Hip-Hop accountant yclept Vendetta 

drink beer or  milk or shots of absinthe to escape

the sun-crush or drizzle outside

and everything hums like

Frigidaire at midnight in kitchen awash with Elvis portraits

and the clientele know they have sunk

into the interstice 

between fetus and disco or

woman and tiger or Poetry and postcards 

in such moments a gun-slinger would come
in handy 

either that or a hammer and better menu
one with less Buffalo Wings and more vultures

Anabelle opens her purse
unleashes four silver coins each the size of a monarch butterfly 

she flicks them inside the Juke
punches a number
and there thunders the first guitar chord pulsing with pumas

what those words in Creole mean no longer matter
what matters is that Chord that lightning: 

                                                                     Definitely D Major  


                          or F#

Babies Born Screaming 

Anything’s better than these hornets

some call planned obsolescence or microwaveable protein,

but there always resides in the air, in the black soil, 

the car keys to a red Mustang,

remains of faulty scaffolds or

feathers stuck to glue,

the countdown to the number-one- dance-song,

all, as ambivalent to the withering rose as

bacteria in a cow’s still-warm milk.

In the future some

will say There are no beautiful ones at this feast,

For my money, I would have requested a high caliber of Testosterone

but they never heard the mucus

rising from fear to esophagus to the 

doe leaping from brush-fires,

or the trembling breasts

of the moon while she nourished dust

once deemed sterile



As always 

newborns are delivered far from the shore but

they taste the salt and hear the blind

howling at the eclipse. 

Salt and deprived hearth lick at their hearts.

Best be to fill the finest goblet or clay cup

with a syrup many call tears,

hold up the liquid and


river doesn’t leap bank, clouds don’t 

rain sulfur or rain, 

what’s revealed…

only the pair of sandals for slender feet,

the stone path, 

the enticements of the pomegranate,

and the dark smoke-webbed gates. 

Double Concerto for Lovesickness and Dewlap 

Beauty claimed once she had slept on a divan 

in the basement of the moon

but her foot chained to the radiator

nights when rain scrubs the smog 

and the bare-naked-starlight resuscitates 

the suicide victims who regurgitate razors and chewing gum

stuck under diner counters or

caked to loafer soles black after the long stroll 

via circuitous routes from Pharmacy Love

to the ladles of gravy boredom, 

but she won’t pour you the final shot

no mezcal when cash dissolves like 

soap bubbles or when the Beast of Convention

and Terminal Tax Codes 

grabs you by the lapels and shouts

Never use the Subjunctive when speaking about Ash!

Because in the end

there are only the clouds, 

(the clouds! the clouds! the syphilitic Dandy howled!), 

but on Titan they’re stitched from nitrogen, 

with a precipitation of methane,

and the surface temperature of -290F

is no plot for hothouse flowers,

and summer vacations were always slated for something azure,

and love should offer large eyes and sickly daisies,

not a box locked shut for it contains a chunk of Saturn’s atmospheric pressures, 

and her hair,

(those undulant, vast, moonward-bending tresses),

curl down to your sleep with the malignancy 

of virus or oil spill 

and only then you must learn 

to hug your un-hatched eggs and echoes

from dance floors and confetti glee,

as the guidebook eternal has been discarded

and Beauty’s father was caught

at the murder-scene red-handed,

and in the mugshot photo

his dewlap jiggled and blurred some astronomical glimpse

into non-carbon strains of coitus. 

Some Sniveling in the Supermarket of Complacency 


okay neither desert nor ghetto

not even a resort with sauna and decent blackjack 

but someone somehow

left a jeroboam containing pink toxic aspic, 

and now the pine-tree no longer sweetens aspirin, 

and the white iris 

has turned basketball sneakers into Beauty

so that the gnarled black toes of Taste

may be shod and cushioned, 

and if this were a French film from the 70’s,

the couple would be smoking in bed,

while arrondissments in the distance 

carbonize beneath some Marxist Upper-Volta Cadenza,

but it’s not,

it’s useless a snowball chucked into pan of sizzling lard, 

so just try to forget about the switchblade 

in the rear pocket of well-worn blue jeans,

the leer and delicious delay

before the motorcyclist declares free love,

while the mediocre majority 

melt beneath the spitfire precipitation 

of coupon bingo,

and the plunging

parachutes of spermatozoa 

ejected from clouds who had once flirted with

the gentle crush of candy, 


or arsenic rose-bloom.  

Anthony Seidman 

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