This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features an excerpt of a poem by Michael Martin Shea. 

from The Immanent Field

The dreaming man shook me awake again • I imagined the ingredients of my death laid out on the table • The dream like a ride, whether a bicycle or theme park • Laying in the bathtub, I listened for the thump of my blood • I said, “YOU’RE RIDING THE IMMANENT FIELD, MOTHERFUCKER” • Functional death as permanent listener status • It’s like baseball except with Ronald Reagan in left field • The statute of limitations exists to suggest the law has a real body • It’s like baseball except everyone is on fire and covered in cum • Free will is not limitless but a dynamic of flux • We fired our manager after we found him giving handjobs to waterfowl • A luxating patella does not suffer fools willingly • I managed to really find myself in a rest stop in the bayou • The suffering of the world does not preclude the eroticism of dreams • I found myself in a hotel window, looking down at the snow over Boston and thinking about how I didn’t need to love you anymore • What the dream offers is in addition to the objectivity of the world • I found myself in the Denver airport, looking for somewhere to masturbate between flights • Additional officers were brought in when they realized the protestors didn’t want any one thing • I found the desperation of others to be extremely crippling and spent all winter sleeping on the couch and trying not to die • Rapid appeasement of a minor ill is central to the state’s concept of the protest • I found out I’d been cheated on a full year after it happened • What the state wants is an artist class that entertains, like wrestlers



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