Jen Currin and William Stobb Poems




New System Technologies by Jen Currin


Immediately when they leave

they are taken out of the system


Blue at last the sky



Night gowning us in advance


I’ll paint my face


It might be appropriate




Iris scanners for travelers who want to fast track


For residents of condominiums


For state employees without hands


For high-end European nightclub frequenters




The place is taken out/a token


An indifference to bells


My cell phone’s low battery


Every monk will tell you


The place is a token


Paradise the verb






Jen Currin Poem translated by William Stobb


Dictionary No Dictionary



                                      “The world is all that is the case”

                                                  Ludwig Wittgenstein



(why I write these definitions

for shit I don’t even have a handle on like

“exchange of swirly shapes

through inner and outer space”—a butterfly

in Madison blows out a harmonica

in Portland and this is the world

okay?  This is the place, Johnson

to Boswell, “the taste,” to Tate,

“the oblivion”) ha ha. In mine 

Mother had a knee replaced

then fell and popped her shoulder

(“world”).  Better than my uncle

who had to grow new muscles

to swallow pills meant almost to kill him.

“More than that summer

week at your cabin” and love

is impossible remember:

some debris makes burning arcs across the sky.

From mine subtract fifteen orbits of friendship

like old-school surgery I’m unconscious

flayed gently beeping then punching

numbers and somewhere a cell

rings.  You answer.  Our lives are

not saved.  Mainly

I wonder what else happened? 

What’s your ring tone? 

What did the waiter think of you crying then snap

to the cook who slaps what on the omelet

(rings bell—“Nine’s up!”)

meant for you but served to the Senator.

Pull hard on those handcuffs.

Something I’ve never heard during sex play

but does that disqualify it metaphysically? 

Pull that chain.  Face the honest explanation

of ten years in your parents’ basement. 

See the links attached to this

paying of attention (“The sum

of all facts, fronts, flags for facing”)?  Pull.

A Russian soldier on Nevsky Prospekt

opened beer bottles with his arm stubs. 

For souvenirs I bought (“explosions

on every level to scale beyond thinking”)

propaganda posters.  I’m anti-

place I say in a paper (“Where anyone

can sit quietly and ring a chime”).  No

to faces.  No to cases.  Rapidly blinking

the world erases.  One white beam

pixels your iris.  A simple yes

and we’re through.




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