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Tina Brown Celona is completing a Ph.D. in poetry at the University of Denver. Her first collection of poems, The Real Moon of Poetry and Other Poems, won the 2002 Alberta Prize and was published by Fence Books. A second collection, Snip Snip!, was published by Fence in 2006. Celona’s poems have appeared in Everyday Genius, Harp & Altar, Sink Review, Action Yes, Octopus, Saltgrass, and Colorado Review. Poems from a new manuscript, Impossible Motels, are forthcoming in Fence, Typo and Map Literary.

were divers. Besides, things changed
over time. In the words of poems
feelings lived on. His love for A____,
whose bones long ago fell to dust.
The orange trees around the square—
they still are there. Discontinuously
language takes the impression
of life. We claimed we were tired
of the saint, the relics, the labyrinth.
We looked for beauty in the woodpile
and wisdom in the book of stars.
We were here, we were told, to heal.
We did this by applying language
to the face of the earth: taking its image,
saying how it made us feel.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear…
--Walt Whitman

Everyone wanted to hear
the poem about writing the poem
but you wanted the one
that was behind the poem
flesh and bone,
you opened my mouth
and words came out.

Waiting to become famous
we spend everything we earn
on books, drink, and gas.
We don’t eat, we walk
everywhere. We read novels
about love in glittery
nineteenth-century Paris.

If even you think I am slow,
my only defense
is that I spend a lot of time
thinking about things
that may or may not
be important, a poet has
to have leisure

and yet if I am ever to have it
I have to make progress.
Meanwhile being
in love consumes
all my time, what
is left after writing poems
and walking the dog. It’s hard work

staying positive. Fortunately
Olive is sleeping
so that I can write this poem
that is about writing it
since no one can agree anymore
how to write a poem

and hardly anyone likes them
who does not write them
and people do what they like
and not what they’re supposed to
more often now,
even if usually they
have to do it, like it or not.
A body can be a poem, you said.

It was your way of saying
ours were beautiful
and that together
we are beautiful like the Greeks,
who saw gods in the trees,
and to please them were changed
into wild beasts.

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