Ben Lerner is from Topeka, Kansas. His books are The Lichtenberg Figures and Angle of Yaw, both published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and a finalist for the National Book Award. He coedits No: a journal of the arts and has recently joined the English department at the University of Pittsburgh.

No: a journal of the arts

from Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner

DEAR CYRUS, HE PUTS DOWN, DEAR CYRUS, yesterday while taking the, he puts down, air in the company of M. Charlus, your cousin, the Baron, that is, while taking a spin, he puts down, in the motorcar, which respects no mystery, to Thun, he puts down, to the town of T, and the children trailing the, he puts down, which respects no, and the children playing with smoke on a string, frozen smoke on a stick, your cousin the Baron, drew my attention, my attention, you understand, was drawn, there was a silver, and the children screaming, flying machine, in terror, he puts down, with pleasure, and in the eyes of the cousin, your Baron, who respects no, who is no, displayed like, longer, objects, tears, of price, remain your, humble servant, I


DEAR CYRUS, HE PUT DOWN, DEAR CYRUS, what you experience as an inconsistency in tone, is, in fact, the Montessori method, in which we practice abstinence during the period of ovulation, in which we move across the plane of fracture, where adjacent surfaces are differentially displaced. Dear Personified Abstraction, he put down, dear Counterstain with Safranine, I am writing to describe a perfect circle, the sudden sine curve of a fleeing deer, and to request your absence at my table, with quakes of lesser magnitude to follow. Dear Reader, he put down, Dear He Put Down, when the golden parachute failed to decelerate your cousin, The Baron, the first dog in space, the kids fanned out across the field and screamed Iíve got it, mistaking the shower of sparks for bedtime, the luminous obligate parasites for a lecture on film. Dear Lerner, he put down, Earth to Lerner, throw three damn strikes and get us out of this sentence, but the runner had long since grown into his base.


DEAR CYRUS, HE PUTS DOWN, DEAR REPETITION, while you were driving home from, how shall I put this, Mexico, driving dark pales into the panic grass, the kids got into the Roman Candles, the ginger vodka, the bible I gave your daughter was hollow, contained a, how shall I, pistol, two kinds of people in this world, do I smell incense, swimmers and non-swimmers, a child with puppy dog eyes asks if puppies go to heaven, the pistol proves untrainable, ruins the carpet, a no or no question, I guess I just assumed dogs dog paddled, Dear, Dear, he puts down, Dear Me, when a dog drowns an angel gets its wings, and a long proboscis for sucking blood, no self putdowns, she screamed, I pretended it was alive so I could pretend to put it to sleep, how shall I, sweetheart, no doggy heaven, put this, without a doggy hell.