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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