Leora Fridman


the last way you tried
to know us, and come play
dire by the sea: in this game
every human must allow
another and the ocean,
must welcome each seed
that found this an occasion
to visit the sand, the sand
that has been moved
splendidly by storm
from one file to the next, the sand
that would make any mother say
can you select a career,
not by virtue of not seeing
but by virtue of more moves
away from cities
and into the traffic of daylight
and into the traffic of a town
in which nothing can be crushed
under something else
just bends again to softness
because this is all so dire
that water remains unsaid
that pebbles remain deliberate
and everyone is so widespread
that now when we actually see us
it’s an occasion for tides to run
to wrap urgent around our fingers
and talk so little under the sun




Or, another person likes
my way but they don’t like

the way I act toward old
woolly animals. They find it
repellent how I love to

tow my saviors around with me,
never telling how many more

figurines I own. Or, what sort
of person are you when you

only imagine an attack? When
you accept everything especially

well at the crossroads of doctored
meats? Because you don’t mind

not seeing sniffing. Because you like
all the anger to stay in the skin.

The god I don’t talk to is the god of
grizzly bears that people scream at,

the god of more yelling
at the critical global misery.

I have no prayer for fallen hugeness
and no delicacy I still hope to impart.

Good morning, other continents
who host many more leopards:

I also want to pet
a muted mind.







I told someone recently that I've been interested in a "politics of giving-in." I'm thinking about that in these poems, and think about (very physically) the body heaving back, hollowing out almost like it's been punched in the stomach and is flying backwards for a very long cinematic-style time, being pulled back by its middle vertebrae, broadening in the back, hollowing in the front, making space in the front there for what could come, even when it is actually already been hit, maybe, or propelled—but it holds open, holds open more space, and gives in more. (Is this a move from The Matrix? It's very possible! I'm pretty sure I didn't make it up!) And what could a politics of this be, of continuously putting effort toward flying back, making space in the front for something to come in and maybe even to be wrapped up/around. I think, what could action look and sound like if it comes from giving in, acknowledging, making space for what is, even if what is is discord, is cruelty, is unfortunate, is decay. One poem I heard most recently do this holding-open was Alice Oswald's, one which she spoke, stunningly, aloud, and you can listen to [here]. And Sarah Gridley writes, "Where by love I mean a failing, copious / and opaque, heart without a practical power / most feeling the gives of undone."