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The Architecture of Love Memory Death and Desire and Other Poems, by George Wallace

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There’s no use crying like an idiot child, life is an assassin, chewing on a toothpick, wearing a film noir raincoat and grinning like Bogart and Bacall, and beauty walks by on crooked feet, finger on the trigger, ready to shoot you up or shoot you out of its mouth like spit, and love is nervous as a cat in the southern zone and I am looking for evidence of the sacred in the flesh, and love is always right there behind me or right around the corner, ready to brain me with a cobblestone or the butt end of a handgun

and I worship you publicly and in secret and alone, and memory is time and time is an oppressor, and time is a tyrant and a dead-end alleyway, and life is sacred as bread and spills like milk, and the smile which lurks behind the drapery of flowers is a dynamic music and a bashful woman is always pouring out sweet wine and inviting me to walk with my own shadow,

go blindly, she says, walk through blindly, do not turn back
and the architecture of love memory death and desire is a shadow
and I have loved many women, and only one woman, and you


It’s 1954, as in the 1950s, she’s leaning at the bar,
like a willow tree at midnight, like a hobo about to
explode, I’m in no man’s land, so good it’s scary, so
good she could hold me up to the light and see right
through me to Los Angeles the jazz blows black and
white, blows thick and I don’t care — she sings from
a bottle, she spills like the blues for Clifford Brown,
a thousand more like her but that’s outside, and she’s
in here getting trippy with the lipstick, staring at herself
in the blue blue lights of Avenue A, I cannot and will not
try to explain this thing to you or to myself, embraceable
untraceable, look what she’s done to my hair my shoes,
yes 1000 of her outside on the avenue, a river runs through
each and every one and she is the only one that has ever
been real, and I am a boy named Mary, I am a girl named
Jake, I know it’s crazy but whatever it takes to get her away
from here, whatever it takes all right I will, my loss her gain
it’s all in the game, truth or consequences, sweet pain and
indecision, hungry for it not hungry for it, all the same, just
her being her identical self tonight, for a boy like me for a
girl like me — it’s midnight at the bar, pouring from the bottle,
and she’s my guy — who could ask for anything more


I offer you the realism of
the flying dead, we’ve almost
reached the stars, not quite
there but reach for the big one,
one foot square in the grave
and the other in paradise,
do you know where I’m going
with this, time stands still for
the pure of heart, no more worries
in the place we’re headed,
here comes scarecrow with
his eyes plucked out — they’re
handing out wax wings at the
pearly gate and honey I can’t wait
when the sun comes out there’ll be blue
skies for everyone, blue skies baby
and that’s cloud 9, it’s a cornfield
of harvestable souls

These poems are from Simple Blues With A Few Intangibles (Foothills Publishing), a new collection of poems by Wallace, which is scheduled for release Aug 15 2016. His thirtieth collection, it includes 70 pages of some of the best of the author’s celebrated conversational ‘flow-poetry’ style prosody, a mixture of Whitmanian celebration and Beat era jazz — infused as always with an admixture of surrealism, but increasingly grounded in the timeless human concerns of classical Hellenistic culture.

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George Wallace is editor of Poetrybay, co-editor of Great Weather for Media and author of 29 chapbooks of poetry. He’s a fixture on the NYC poetry scene and travels internationally to perform, lecture and teach workshops. Poet Laureate, Suffolk County, LI NY (2003-2005). Writer in residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace (2011-present).International Beat Poetry Festival Laureate (2015-16). “If you want to know what America feels like in your mouth, read his poems out loud,” writes Huffington Post-UK’s Robert Peake.

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