Excerpts from 2013 Winner Betsy Andrew’s New Jersey

22 Jul

Here are a few excerpts from New Jersey by this year’s 42 Miles Press Poetry Award winner Betsy Andrews. Look for her forthcoming book The Bottom next year.

*

from zero and in zero the true movement begins
a transplant of hands and mechanical fury
like the elephant whose lifelong keeper died
who took to the highway like breaking weather
the gulls in his blood diving diving at 500 beats per minute
who fell to his knees blown like a tire
he was yanked by a chain back to the barracks
ambushed by a booster of vitamin E the size of national defense

*

Turnpike immaculate, the salt marsh flanked in
masks, cupids, urns, plumage, syringes, food wrappers, cigarette butts,
the carved and gilded heraldry of a clean-up crew called Special Removal,
leasing themselves like automobiles registered to a series of dummy
     corporations
wraparound ballistics the belief in an extraordinary rendition of
the axiom let every soul be subject

*

New Jersey topography hypodermic
state bird a lingering sting
across the junk-rolled nautical miles
the occulting light, the first-order flashing, the front range beacon,
the spherical lamps, the bivalve lens, the signal boys black out
overdosing on obfuscation Shooter’s Island, Corner Stake, Elbow of Cross,
Wreck Pond, the hypocritical Point Comfort, the hypocrite Navesink
the dark seahorse of a wartime dilution of the actual shoals, the actual reefs
the body politic a watermark
except for the wraiths of the radium factory who lesion the shipping veins
leading Marines to the Five Fathom trough with their working girl
     phosphorescence

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