Three Poems

by Corey Harvard

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THE SALESMAN (or, On The Virtue of Not Having to Prove It, or, A Case Against Facebook)

May we learn
to disappear
into the canvas

so entirely

that we forget
the language
of the salesman

who stands outside
the thing of worth,

trying to sell the painting
that would come alive

if only he were in it.


VESSEL

Toward the ghosts of your laughter,
for the want of your hand,

my body careens
without my willing,

stupefied autopilot—

my ear the rudder,
your siren song.


THE NAZARENE

   Look at all the smiling people
   and the sky with a missile between her teeth
   and a steeple through her heart
   and not a single star left to hold her
   And the voices of a thousand broken nations saying
   “wake me, wake me, when the American dream is over”
   — Andrea Gibson

Is this my country
sinking its teeth
into the fattened calf

of affluence,
empire of excess,
our bellies fat

on the feasts
of filled tables,
our houses

crowded
with empty rooms?
Is this my religion:

manifest destiny,
prosperity gospel,
divine retribution,

our prodigal sons
swept beneath the rug
of personal responsibility,

our poor
criminalized,

our neighbors
drowning off the shores
of Turkey, lead

buried in their bones.
They are not like us,
I hear

from my own friends:
They are not like us
at all.

Somewhere the Nazarene
is gathering their sinking bodies
in his arms.

He is gathering
his Muslim siblings
like he once gathered

the marginalized,
while Rome
reveled

and the religious
plotted his death
behind closed doors

whispering
he is not like us.
He is not like us
at all.


Corey Harvard is a singer-songwriter from Mobile, AL. He served as an editor for the University of South Alabama’s Oracle Fine Arts Review and for the late Sonnetto Poesia, a verse-only publication out of Canada. His work can be found in journals including Poetry Life and Times, The Hypertexts, and Tales of the Talisman. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

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