Without by Kevin Connolly

XIPHOID PROCESS Written by Kevin Connolly

Without

by Kevin Connolly

Maybe there is a plan, slow-gathering, still fluid​ — ​
sky a sea on fire, but relax. It’s nothing biblical.
It’s happened recently, unnoticed, twin rainbows after
a weird rain, the Lowes parking lot turned chiaroscuro.
Kierkegaard is hilarious. The long game, the trauma,

grandiloquent doubt. How differently slower stories play out:
letters wandering like taxis, dandelions, ants wet with wings.
You arrive, dressed in greens and browns. Make your point
as if it seems worth making; loiter by the pool.
The little wet lights sudden as coins, etcetera.

Like someone turned off a projector, the sand goes dark.
Evening’s green an ideal of fatigue, crescendo; tidesound
rampant, now snared in grass, now rushing the bed.
What you like is in the limo. But a beach is just a day.
You can memorize, but it’s only known once.

Haven’t you heard? It’s a battle of words:
but should we go with favourite or only?
With. Without? It can’t be helped, but
there’s a lot of this about. Tonight we dined
by the pool. It likely saved our minds.

I hope you had there the same light, too.
The Martians. Sun through black locusts.
Those hovering figures from our pasts.


Nine years (ahem…) in the making, award-winning Kevin Connolly’s new collection extends its author’s investigation of identity, authority, intention, and authenticity. What is a public poetry? In an age of tweets and trolls, what should it even try to be? Through revision, redaction, ventriloquism, homage, self-sabotage, and outright plunder, the poems in Connolly’s Xiphoid Process interrogate the alleged futility and alleged insight of mid-life. Are we who we are simply because we’d otherwise be nothing? Or are we (more hopefully) something parked, for a time, in time, trying to make something useful out of the experience? Walt Whitman, Tom Petty, Alec Baldwin, Doug Stanhope, Journey, Judd Nelson, Billy Ripken, Johnny Weissmuller, Don Felder, Lindsay Lohan, Shiprock, NM, the police blotter at Point Reyes Station, CA and the moons of Saturn are all poised to make their case in the poet’s latest deliberations.

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