Giving up isn’t giving in, but a different kind of poverty
And if we didn’t mention them all in order, it wasn’t our fault:
Our strength gave out before the daylight tapered,
Schedules were strict, the weddings obliged to go forward
Even with strangers involved, and sisters and mothers of strangers,
Playing Russian roulette with five bullets coughed into the chamber
And swallow the razor and other old parlor games,
Keeping appointments with overcoats and nautical charts of the crime
While someone kept telling lies about factory bylaws, saying
Don’t be afraid, I have called you by name, you are mine
And almost believing it, a survivor peddling insomnia’s cure,
Calculating which bridges to burn, which heretics, which beds:
A package that never arrived from a mispronounced province
Or a lightswitch left on overnight at the back of the hall,
Rehearsing the wreckage of telegrams, padlocks, and skeleton keys
And storms on the coast with other betrayers to please.
-- Andrew Zawacki
Note by Judith Hall
The Antioch Review often publishes poets who are “little known,” whose poems rise on their own merits out of immense slush. So it was with “Agrapha,” one of Andrew Zawacki’s first publications.
Posted above is the poems as it originally appeared. All inaugural capital letters -- except the first and the Isaiah -- were removed in by reason of breakings. To me, the capitals support line autonomy, increasing tension, by additionally resisting "unwritten places." Any comment? Debate? Dear reader?