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  • Anthony Sutton

Four Poems

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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