Four Poems

February 15, 2019


Lucifer as Adolescent 


after Kazim Ali 


He likes movies a lot: 

the thought of an actor’s skin 

turned to light. He 


tells people he likes plot 

which really means 

he likes conflict. Watching 


the dance that leads up  

to denouement or tragedy. He likes 

all the terminology, especially 


shot and frame. A good shot 

is full of emphasis, he says 

when talking about his film: 


it opens with a man 

and woman silhouetted 

in front of a window, 


bigger than they are, exposing 

the sky. The chiaroscuro 

lighting pushing the figures  


towards the audience. He doesn’t 

want them to know what  

the man says, but wants 


to skip over it, to the woman’s 

reaction shot: her lips parting 

slowly, her jaw angling. She’s 


about to shout at the man when  

the shadow of a bird’s wing runs 

across her face. He told me 


about this scene on the subway,

coming home from class. She’s, only 

for a moment, swallowed by darkness






Poem Wishing that the Alt-Right Starts Believing in the Occult 


My generation’s nationalists are really boring, 

especially Richard Spencer who’s on TV 


talking about the racial threat immigration poses, 

which is really just a recycled line from less 


than 100 years ago, which is probably why he started 

doing the Nazi salute, except back then 


nationalists also had vaguely scientific ideas 

via eugenics, and many eugenicists believed 


themselves to have occult-like superpowers.  

Watching this makes me feel like I’m trapped 


in a movie: outside the frame is the button 

that will allow me to fast-forward past all this. 


My favorite chapter of The Immortal Life 

of Henrietta Lacks discusses Nobel Prize winner 


Alexis Carrel who attempted to make blood cells 

from a chicken heart reproduce forever 


so that he could allow financially well-off Aryans 

eternal life while all others went extinct, 


(his ability was clairvoyance). If I could 

fast-forward into the future, so that all this talk 


is archived footage, I’d like to write  

a book that some future person could read  


and think more of these nationalists 

than I do: they’d say This could make for good 


conversation as they put the book down. 






Nihilism Summer 


The moon is a telescope for the sky.

Or is it that the crystal Dante saw

behind the planets was one cracked lens


unintelligible to anyone from the mortal

side of existence? Or is it just me? Blood

running down my jaw from the punch


I took in front of the speak easy

in the first circle of hell, because

I told the bartender that I was here


during the last harrowing, when Jesus

descended and picked up people

he liked like dolls, and no one here


will make the cut next time. The only thing

visible tonight is the moon

which you said looked like a ring


that a finger can’t fit through since

it’s already full of light

and love. It was a surprising


and pointless thought

that quickly faded into the echoing

sighs that fill the air.








In Dante, the universe is constantly shifting

in relation to where one is, so that

when on earth, Satan is at the center, and


when one is among the stars, everything slides

as if on gears so that God is the center.

In non-Euclidian geometry, this shape is called a hypersphere.


The concept is not too different from when,

in the queer theory class, we talked about the intersection

of sexuality and race, and I playfully said And actually,


I’m just the least white person in the room. Something

I wouldn’t clarify when walking down the street

and people think I’m hispanic


and maybe a woman. The man outside

the gas station hollers sister at me, but

when he hears my voice he bums me for change.


I keep walking block-by-block, transmuting

as fast as the uncertain earth around me.






Anthony Sutton's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Cosmonaut's Avenue, Midwestern Gothic, Third Coast, and elsewhere.

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