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ArLiJo Features Poetry by Lee Leong Koh & Jeff Walt

ArLiJo is currently featuring poetry by Jee Leong Koh and Jeff Walt.

Jee Leong Koh\’s book Equal to the Earth was recently released. Here below is a sample from the book.

Spinoza on Love

In Amsterdam, that curious strand, a man of trading blood was banned for thinking it was very odd that man should worship man in God, and not the God of love’s demand.

Demand of me, my Love, demand I give up all to understand the ordinary and the odd in Amsterdam.

Devoting all to understand what stayed or traded on that strand, he thought, therefore I am—how odd!— the intellectual love of God, the love that binds, what once was banned in Amsterdam.

From Equal to the Earth (Bench Press, 2009 ) Copyright © 2009 by Jee Leong Koh. Reprinted by permission of Bench Press.

Jeff Walt, who has twice won the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award, recently was awarded First Place in the 2009 Gertrude Press Chapbook Contest and his chapbook Vows will be published in 2010.

Here below is one of his poems:

I Walk My Neighborhood at Night

The mutt my ex left me has broken free from the back yard fence. Now I’m scavenging the streets, still in my work boots, greasy clothes, the paper mill’s stench that hangs on me no matter how much soap I use. “Lucky,” I shout, as if the mongrel might come running, jump up, lick my face; as if I have something to offer besides a chain around his neck and leftover Spaghetti-Os.

I stumble through dark yards— windows glow, boxes of private lives lit: families finishing dinner, clearing tables, watching TV. A boombox screeches “Cocaine”; a man yells at a woman, hands thrashing in the air. I remember being struck by love. What would I say if I slammed in there? What words would change anything?

My neighbor rattles home in his car, calls his six kids little sons-of-bitches—their small, vague bodies like shadows, skipping circles and clapping lightning bugs dead between their hands.

As a boy, I wanted to kill everything smaller than me: beetles sprayed with AquaNet, butterflies smacked from the bright air, wings dipped in motor oil. In those moments, I was certain I would become a man who could conquer anything. I yell down a dead end street for a dog I know doesn’t love me; a pet afraid of my voice hard as the two-by-four I’ve whacked against his rib cage, days and days chained to himself.

First appeared in Mangrove Review, Fall 2005. Copyright (c) 2009 by Jeff Walt.

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