We are not together, we are not alone.

Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross

I think I was a sophomore when I randomly picked this up from a box of free books plunked outside of a doorway in the history department. I chose it because I found the cover quirky and endearing in some way–and I always find it hard to pass up free books–but I never really opened it until two years later. This summer, I discovered it on my bookshelf during a bout of literary restlessness and read through the entire thing, got to the end, and read each poem over again.

I find Yakich’s poems smart and true, hilarious and tragic, and altogether a really fresh voice that I am more than happy to follow for pages to come.   So today, I give you two (!) poems from Mark.

“You Are Not a Statue”-Mark Yakich

And I am not a pedestal.

We are not a handful of harmless
scratches on pale pink canvas.
Today is not the day to stop

looking for the woman
to save you. What was once
ivory is wood. What was once

whalebone is cotton.
My coif and corset are duly
fastened, and your shirttail is

tied in a diamond knot.
You may be the giver
of unappreciated nicknames

and the devoted artist
who has given my still life
life. But we can never reach

each other’s standards.
You want to condemn me
to eternity. I want to make you

no more perfect than you
used to be. We are not
together, we are not alone.


“On Raisins”

They are much misunderstood.

Like that old writer’s truism:
“Write what you know.” –well,

you don’t know very much.
So you write about raisins

Faithless little fuck-ups,
plucked, dried, smashed in a box.

That feelings of being in the world,
but not of the world. So what

if berries fall from the hand
as only berries do.