3 Poems from Rob Carney’s “Call and Response”

Ever Wish You Were Famous?
I knew a man who made money
as a silhouette.

That outline standing upstream,
brilliantly backlit

by morning,
that was him.

The famous photo. Chin
to the north.

They’ve got a museum now somewhere,
and people signing the visitor’s book.

About him, though,
I only hear rumors.

Something concerning the moon,
the next eclipse.

Anything in the News?
Someone invents the diagonal
guitar–-better

for leaning in the corner.
Another thinks night

is jumping the border of a day.
He calls everything the morning.

A third man has a daughter.
She’s seven.

All he’s doing
is teaching her to ride a bike.

Do You Believe in ESP?
If Paul’s grandfather said, “Pack a jacket,”
there would be snow.

Even in April.
Even in May.

Call it Farsight, or Weathergut,
or just absentee voting from the North—

clouds would arrive like envelopes
and un-seal, un-tape,

un-whatever.
But we would be warm.

*Image is an excerpt from “Phone: A Poem & 10 Variations” by Jackson Mac Low (Kontexts Publications, Amsterdam, NL, 1979.)

Writer Rob Carney is the author of four previous books of poems, most recently 88 Maps (Lost Horse Press, 2015), which was named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, as well as the forthcoming collection The Book of Sharks (Black Lawrence Press). These poems are a part of his new manuscript, as a part of a progression called “Call and Response.” Read more of his work in journals such as Hobart, Cave Wall, American Journal of Poetry, and his regularly featured series called “Old Roads, New Stories” for Terrain: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. He lives in Salt Lake City.

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