Christopher Cokinos

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The jets sound beautiful this morning.
The waters of a globe matte-black.
Circumference our music for each other,
moments wavery with inclination,
tangled and sour, but warm,
rumpled and record-breaking.
The shipping containers have spread their tresses
on your pillows. They’ve kicked off the sheets.
You have no better song. You never had and never will.
For, the tresses say, you should work
on your platform and exposition. For, they say, you should work
on gratitude and callbacks. Eventually,
the finery of some eloquent pitch, a
rascal equanimity, becomes a birdy whistle
as legs thrown across you lengthen
the sore arc or arrow or backlit suckle of the 20th day/
345 days left when no one is listening, the tresses say.

At 11,000 Feet Everything is Proudly Made in China

Nimbostratus sinks
to maw the granite mountain, these two
gritchy jays needling me
like I’m their patron.

It’s getting cold up here.
The wind has convinced the rain
to be its truant edge.

Lightning pinned us down.
The trail flooded.
The bear flowed like a wave if wave were muscle.
Wolf eyed us. Don’t tell me
about third-order simulacra,
I’ve lived on ice,
I’ve heard bergs calving, I close
my eyes to open for you
unless I don’t.

Zipper five jetstreams
to make the rain boring, the epiphanies
rasorial. Supply daisy
chain, show me what happens
when nylon is liquid.
At your commissary, I will heat your tea and pour.

The Nazis at White Sands

Nice work
if you can get it
of corpses
to the bench
with only so much
coffee. Harder
still, apogee.
if you want to think
it’s glamorous.
Scary, only in
the old novel sense
and you know
which one we mean.
Clamp failing
lunar light
under the instrument
of your choice
and you still end up
with Tuesday, faulty
graphite vane before
some ration, khaki meatloaf
clouds New Mexico blue,
bent fork behind
cracked sink, gyros
and ridiculous amounts
of sand. Frau im Mond’s
Oberth gleams,
gleams, captains
lording it like
gravity itself
were American, geometry
invented by Franklin,
your uncouth jukebox.

We’re lovelorn
in the barracks
but we’re grateful.
...’neath a starry sky...

Strikes of the typist
the only sound
by calves
of a hanging faggot, our
distant requisition.
What dreams
of under
the mountain factory then
are this calculus, how
we pleased, the rockets’
rise from Dora, the rockets’
fall on Chiswick.
A light breeze lauding
our insignia.

Author Portrait

Christopher Cokinos is the author of three books of nonfiction, including, most recently, Bodies, of the Holocene, a collection of lyric essays. He's the author of a poetry chapbook, Held as Earth, and co-editor of a forthcoming anthology, A Literary Field Guide to the Sonoran Desert. Work is recent or forthcoming in Ecotone, TYPO, Mudlark, The Writer's Chronicle and Science Fiction Film and Television. He directs the MFA program at the University of Arizona, where, this year, he is a Udall Fellow in Environmental Policy.

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