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  • Electric Psalm, and: Dedication
  • Mark Irwin (bio)

electric psalm

May those deer wandering on the blue screen's greenwoods find a stream there. May they remain safefrom whistling bullets till bullets become spent whirringrounds. May kids from the concrete metropoli find those deer,their gaze a tissue of fear fetched far from video cameraor computer chip till the laptop becomes sheer altar,for blessed are those who see among circuitry and glare,those who can tap a letter's key and know its curvedweight the way deer know the angle of trees and the earth'scurve, yet are fooled by a headlight's glare—or know downwindan arrow's whoosh, and blessed those whose legs don't buckle,who run till those woods skirt suburbia's pixeled dusktoward which they gaze then turn back to a darknessleaking more, a kind of noise or low flickering your eyecatches on the screen, not the snow falling through redleaves, snow that builds, joining city to woods, but a restlessdrone joining antennae to tree from which the animals turnfarther, todays toward tomorrow, unblessed their blessed darkness. [End Page 44]


To the alphabet texted through ten million iPhonesor shot through names of the living and dead.To the letter X that lives between numbers.To "I" that wants to become 1, and to "O" that lusts for the sun.To the bees and their furious hexagons.To the cubicles rising in a skyscraper not beyondvoices carrying a threat. To the echo of footsteps in a stadium.To him to her to them. To all the screams and glasssplintering back toward windows. To those borncrying, awaiting their names. To the hungry,shaking seconds out like salt. To the animals that arenumbered. To the churches and slaughterhousesand to the words that multiply. To thosewho push Send. To all knowledge finally swepttoward information then satelliteencoded. To to, how it keepsmarvelously opening, and to everyone's eyesin the digital haze. [End Page 45]

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin is the author of nine collections of poetry, including A Passion According to Green (2017), American Urn: Selected Poems 1987–2014 (2015), Tall If (2008), and Bright Hunger (2004). His collection of essays, Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry, appeared in 2017. He is a professor in the creative writing and literature program at the University of Southern California.



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