A Celebration of Franz Wright, Day 3

photo courtesy of Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright

photo courtesy of Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright


Beth Bachmann



Six-fingered pitchfork, god-speed;

I’ve got a field fallow & have you seen

my horses? They’re hungry.

Death is not a state. It is a property

like the smell of peaches on your

or my skin. The little book I wear

around my neck is gold-filled,

mostly brass. It takes an open palm

to lift the hay, the hair in sunlight.

The tremble of one little finger

can make a man a god. The needle

enters the skin anywhere,

but the only way through the eye

is pulling the thread with the tongue.




Leila Chatti


His sleeve rucked back

like a curtain’s cloth accordion

revealing the grand show, and I saw it:

his arm hardly recognizable as

arm, all scar pocked with skin,

every inch angry. Compared to this,

my own violence appeared

quaint, dainty lines

fine as embroidery thread,

private and faint as lace.

He was much braver than I, I thought

he could really do it. And when

he caught me looking, he said

as if to a comrade, “You know,

the thing that stopped me

wasn’t the pain, but all

the blood,” and smiled,

like a dare.




Brian Russell


– for Anthony Delgado, after Franz Wright


All ten thousand images of god, the witch, in a fever

Appear, snake braided with staff, clozapine with prozac

Anthony, every story I end up telling is terrifying

What becomes of the news, what becomes of the mayfly


I’m sorry I’m trying to say everything at once

Something about a savior, something about a deceiver

Fuck the god that counts a life in months


Fate braided with chance, goodbye with goodbye

Anthony, you don’t know me but I’ve been trying

To write you, I’ve been trying to write you back

To life, it isn’t working, it didn’t work for me either



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