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Pick of the Week

Kaveh Akbar: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Kaveh akbar by paige lewis square   web
















Kaveh Akbar. Photo by Paige Lewis


Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before


I can’t even remember my name, I who remember

so much—football scores, magic tricks, deep love

so close to God it was practically religious. 


When you fall asleep in that sort of love

you wake up with bruises on your neck. I don’t

have drunks, sirs, I have adventures. Every day


my body follows me around asking

for things. I try to think louder, try

to be brilliant, wildly brilliant. We all want


the same thing (to walk in sincere wonder,

like the first man to hear a parrot speak) but we live

on an enormous flatness floating between


two oceans. Sometimes you just have to leave

whatever’s real to you, you have to clomp

through fields and kick the caps off


all the toadstools. Sometimes

you have to march all the way to Galilee

or the literal foot of God himself before you realize


you’ve already passed the place where

you were supposed to die. I can no longer remember

the being afraid, only that it came to an end.


Kaveh Akbar is the author of Pilgrim Bell (Graywolf 2021) and editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse (Penguin Classics 2022). In 2024, Knopf will publish Martyr!, Kaveh’s first novel.


Fiona Banner  Simpleton  Simpleton  Simpleton  oil on found painting  77 x 127.5cm  2021                                         Fiona Banner, Simpleton, Simpleton, Simpleton, oil on found painting, 77 x 127.5cm, 2021.



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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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