Poetry 365: Jason Zuzga

May 20, 2016

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting the impressive debut collection from poet Jason Zuzga.  In Heat Wake, the FENCE editor meditates on desire, the complexities of time, and the natural world while traveling through the silent Arizona desert into the suburban New Jersey of his youth.  Poet Kevin Killian raves, “For the anatomical sensations he observes, the tenderness of his sentences, his insatiate curiosity, and his experience of surrealism, we might consider Jason Zuzga the Oliver Sacks of poetry.”  So check out Heat Wake, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.


I store my easterlies in a black box.
I close it to hear sounds at arroyo’s edge,
dry as skull, dry as silver.
Listen, stray letters
pinch air. t t bz k

The sky veins with electricity.
Perspiration breaks down,
the ground blond and blind, hot deer
hoof the riprap and find you there,
eating soy-milked cereals or popsicles.
You think you can live here.
Sun blinds you.

The readymade earth is fat
because it is spinning. The dark interior bodiness
apples open with a stumble down onto these
broken stones. Erosion a process that
doesn’t happen here.
Some forms of silence flourish in the purpose gap.

In a house on the rock live two people.
They die and dry odorless.
In a pocket in the rock
lives a desiccated festival
of toads and beetles waiting for a dull rain.

Moths move among the tall cactuses.
The desert likes the moths because they are silent and dry
and about to die–adult trash in the air.

The desert wears its cactuses like a whale wears lice.
Whales breach to bang itches out of their crevices.
The sounds flick off. Please.
The desert would like to be alone.

heat wake

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