Monday Mar 27

sweeney.jpg Chad Sweeney is the author of three books of poetry, Parable of Hide and Seek (Alice James, 2010), Arranging the Blaze (Anhinga, 2009), and An Architecture (BlazeVOX, 2007) and the chapbook A Mirror to Shatter the Hammer (Tarpaulin Sky, 2006)—as well as the editor of Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose (City Lights, 2009) and coeditor of Parthenon West Review. Sweeney’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Verse Daily, Crazyhorse, New American Writing, Colorado Review, Verse, Black Warrior, Poetry International, Barrow Street, Volt, Slope, Forklift and Denver Qtly. He is working toward a Ph.D. in literature at Western Michigan University where he teaches poetry and serves as assistant editor of New Issues Press. He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney.


Everywhere I went
the maps were more accurate
than the land.
I was lonely.
I broke into Heaven
to steal three gold leaves
but found myself in a dispute
near Minsk
behind a grain elevator
where a girl wanted to kiss.
Red wheat. Green moon.
The peasants asleep
standing up in their boots.
White river. Red branch.
to the laws of composition
someone streaked lapis
onto the background
suggesting horses
in motion.

Establishing a Setting

This poem is in French
with English subtitles.
Scene one: Il pleut.
Rain is
raking the sea
into piles,
a plantation
as seen
from your balcony.
When the wind gusts,
palm trees
make feeble attempts
at flight,
one crow shakes loose,
bamboo shivers up
the hill,
at once the children
all the lost
run out from the forest.
It’s hard to believe
there are so many.
Ils sont vos enfant.
They’re your children.