“Midnight’s Talking Lion and the Wedding Fire” by Adam Day

Every absurd, irrational, and neurotic idea, for singular
obsession and psychic peculiarity and vagary of conscious
or unconscious thought there is latent irrationality beneath
manifest order of the every day, and paradoxically appropriately
suggest irrational flux of stop frisk improvised. Foreground

watertight logic of the fundamental concern system
as potentially capable of neutralizing whatever threatens
to stymie telescopic and teleological pursuits is not exactly
nightmarishly bizarre—no individual human subject is gently
crushed enough by the inexorable force of the labyrinthine
environment—but scenes from everyday life through a kind
of objective automatism.


Relegation is the possibility, vigilance provokes, limits freedom
to that possibility, but one’s sense of say, of self voices parents
speaking on the radio how they coach their children to act perceived.
A kind of normalized stress if times come to expect within it,
and that help limit in accuracy sensation as literal goes so far.

Home and abroad restive remembering without nostalgia,
an act absent, rehearsing everyone within and beyond more
racial identity and yet inextricably the treasures, tribulations,
recognizes the historical moment color, particularly current
“violence of coping shit to people and shelters that move
and wrap around the failure in one another. New things come
like catch bullets chocolate event, doin’ ((it) (to)) death.


Previous exposure limits current I – explored more explicitly,
perhaps the way in which even when it is not present, it is.
But beyond actual experiences is that its possibility is always
present, and that mere possibility, the vigilance it provokes,
even the ghost of it provokes, curtails parents speaking
on NPR about running a white neighborhood at night. ‘Long
thought erase your language intended all the ways. You
are present, alertness, openness, and desire. Demand presence,
looking up, talking back. Insane saying please.’

Adam Day is the author of Left-Handed Wolf (LSU Press, 2020), and of Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books), and the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and of a PEN Award. They are the editor of the forthcoming anthology, Divine Orphans of the Poetic Project, from 1913 Press, and their work has appeared in the Fence, Boston Review, APR, Volt, Lana Turner, Iowa Review, and elsewhere.


The Midnight’s Talking Lion and the Wedding Fire collection is a book-length sequence composed of linked block poems catalyzed by the last published works of C.D. Wright, prior to her passing. Days lives in a neighborhood adjacent to that of the late Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, and these poems are concerned with the intersection of multiculturalism, social justice, ways of seeing, the past as it is mirrored in the present, immigration and the native, as well as security and terrorism, spirituality, ruins, lived environments and the degradation of the natural world.

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