George Life


from Precarity

04.11.13 – 04.20.13

wandering they are all wanderers the old people say with the luxury

of being such          not having been

                                                           forced into chains in the end the

old people say de Angulo was looking for home          sand swept up

over lumbar

                     curve lost          tribe of we what I like most above all or

was it

           Oppen’s clarity the island how far off the coast           realizing

it wasn’t he who said it          difficult to know what one means to be

serious and to know what one means

04.21.13 – 04.30.13

                                                            and we who will have become

was it          the present are now the present the boy on the other side

of the barred patio raking leaves could as well have been

                                                                                            me the boy

the exile

               calls in to seal          his letter Oppen in exile in Mexico Paco

de Lucia in Mexico on vacation dead yesterday no now two days ago

of a heart attack playing evidently with his

                                                                      children on the beach this

day not

05.01.13 – 05.10.13

              this day still though to say I was here that this happened that

this place exists or elsewhere          just as well the fort walls scattered

around the bay

                         built of coral discourse of the present condition hard

as the present condition discourse of coral kora

                                                                             coracle here and now

signifying presence still though we          are not free from constraint

or else have

                    freed ourselves too well and now find ourselves nowhere

now here now there for a few hours

George Life lives at present in North Carolina, and over the past few years has lived variously in China, Panama, and Tucson, where he received an MFA from the University of Arizona. His poems can be found online at Spiral Orb and The Dictionary Project. Among other things, he is working on a selected translation of the late poems of Du Fu, some of which have appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. He blogs at