Sam Truitt's poems have a don't-stop-me-now-I'm-almost-there urgency to them. He has always been disposed to the book-length rather than the page-length poem. He has no patience for the voice's removal from the scene—the language he seems destined to sing holds too much hubris, speed, and childlike wonder to hold back. Instead, cunning formal maneuverings provide the distance and displacement needed to rattle the teeth of syntax and alter the current beat. As a reader, one gets caught up in the frenzy. There is the pleasure of verbal abandon and the reassurance of visual control. There is the perpetually keyed-up anticipation of anything-could-happen-here. Anamorphosis Eisenhower (1998), Truitt's first book, is a "world-horde" of action and speculation. His wall of sound and saturation of detail are made the more brilliant by their pattern. In his new manuscript of extended poems, Truitt proves to be a truly inventive architect of his astonishing utterance. Every movement embraces every moment. Ideas proliferate at the slightest summons. And one form is adroitly acted upon by the next. This is a poetry stash worth raiding.


from The Song of Rasputin, Part 1

On hot days I imposed a fast on myself & worked with laborers. 
I thought of our Savior who also liked to walk near streams. 
Sure we were attacked by wolves, the chief among these being Philosophizing, 
but they did no harm. The cigarettes smoldered in the ashtrays long after the saxophone had been put away 
& the wax paper refolded to be inserted into the silence with the closets of the shoes of the princesses 

Did you know that soon I will die in terrible pain? 
What can I do? There's going to be a revolution & we are all going to hang. 
Who cares from which lamp-post? 
But what can we do when not even the priests are married 
& everyone is indifferent, lonely or confused. 
Ergo the intrigues, the reach after honors, the jostling for position, red tape, crosswinds. 
All to the detriment of the real work at hand passing out gasmasks to the masses rising to the surface of the oil slick. 
Like something that upside down you swallowed but noticed only as you did so
suppressing thought in that elastic space between where your eyes close & you open them again 
you are still reading still clinging to the edge of the bar like a raft 
and that to slam the book shut will not cut the dream off but 
the reading was what you brought to the book, worms the corpses house. 
That that entire passage was a belch of nostalgia, a sphere in which you saw yourself 
for a moment arc, a stain on the fragile membrane which 
to hold intact you must stop clouding the mirror so hard. 
Or try to make "no" not sound like a snap judgment. 
I, like you, was not always loved. Structural drift. 

Less things fall from the sky than you would suspect 

Never receive the Mark of the Beast. The Mark will be a bar code & the number will be 666. 
The cashless society soon will come into effect! 

Within their environment the workers in their worker lives let fly with a grace that is abandon that is 
A's bones are lying with those of her grandfather like an idea shaped like a door which 
we must unlatch & push to get to the core of. 
There are no words in the wall of the children's lettered building blocks. 

Where the chest should be there's a bulging mass of roses. 

When you lean over to sniff them your face appears in the screen. 

from Raton Rex, Part I 

An island is an "o" with 
a slash across it in Danish 
but an island nevertheless 
to ride in a cab on a crooked 
beam of it with 3 women 
in the back seat me with 
driver in front watching 
out the windshield the rows 
of houses & buildings 
to Wooster Street in SoHo 
you begin to feel life 
though still curiously not 
alive per se the way you 
would if you were a tree 
I wish that I could speak 
of some agony observing 
the decapitation. Fiery streams 
batter the fuselage. I watch 
ants that have found a way 
in through a seam in 
the window frame one by 
one emerge following the 
corner of the wall to climb 
on my letters. I don't know how 
to say this except to say 
there is a cockroach living in 
my computer. A woman sat 
beside me & I observed 
her cleavage. Drops of blood. 
Wipe the back of my hand 
across my mouth. I taste 
leaves. I feel funny. My 
back hurts. My head is 
still attached to it. I want 
air, space, a column 
sunshine, laughter & this 
is no joke when you see 
how much what we do 
costs in terms of money 
which are calories which are 
units of heat first in light 
of the sun which is God's 
money converted into 

potential a candle's glow 
which you can't have with- 
out the thought of its being 
snuffed plunged into 
darkness. Darkness 
is a privilege which is what 
you find at a city's center 
or edge if you can find 
it like in Connemara 
but to speak of the hard 
flat-devoured plains is 
difficult as it is to find 
the heart also in the city 
I mean where I mean 
where do we place the bomb 
if it were one that 
when it explodes would 
become the shards of 
life as we know it here 
on this uncharted desert 
island in the sense of 
which is the epitome 
of city life to feel one is 
Caruso cruising the canyons 
ferreting out from niches 
bits of useful fauna 
& scaring up ground animals 
or snaring birds handing 
money your life in 
your hands over to 
clerks behind glassed-in 
partitions who are the 
tutelary spirits of this 
island, benign kind exacting 
intermediaries of our 
conditional survival 
propitiations to whom 
are necessary to get 
choice beef slices 

Slowly it has come to pass 
that the sky is an irregular column 
of truth through which 
whiz insects, zephyrs 
distinct impressions 
the Rorschach of which 
are seen in the clouds 
which curiously I don't 
spend much time reading 
anymore having come 
into closer communion 
with antipodes luminous 
& vast as are these senses 
portals of taste of touch of 
lying beside my brown- 
skinned woman in the 
morning as the day 
hard at first & green 
ripens into a perfected 
sphere on the surface of 
which may be discerned 
in order the punchlist 
timetable the invoice & 
ladling order possessed of 
which humanity has come 
to be inside & out 
washed out. Namely 
I don't know when life ceased 
to touch me & came 
instead to cut right through 
this chasm that I span 
in me this circle 
of effects that defines 
a center a hole through 
which I consume what 
defines & holds in place 
Sam a state of hands