The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Husserlian Meditation: Torch Lighter


The palm-sized train wagons of boyhood

chugging the iron veins of course, also


did not know they were one thing and many

at once.  The room as province, the crevice caves


and peek of forests that rim plastic geologies,

all dicta turning shelter into unsheltered


theater.  A microcosm’s synecdochic chant

echoes, too, the boy’s frame, all heart,


with the engine dragging its entourage

the way our cardial furnace clocks our lives.


Through lungs that would be underbeds

and limbs that leg the woods of his life,


and minds of curtained glass whose glints confess

the world within and the one without owe


each other the trouble of reflection, the train

fulfills his colossal need for play. A thousand


journeys trace each other into destined alleyways

where the man still new to the real will decide


which ways to recover the thrill of a world contained

bring joy and which deliver him like cargo.



Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Husserlian Meditation: Ring Tone


The choice muses on the broader circus of other

ears, for rare is the time when he alone


will hear the call.  How will they turn in smiles

that applaud his duck quack phone or the heavy


metal of griped guitar?  To show there is no sense

of show, he might pick the stock clicks and hoots,


the marimba or the classic ring of clunky phones.

What a choice says is never what it means,


as therapy confirms, so those he sought to put

at ease grasp now how deep the narcissist goes


to put them at ease.  There is not, and never has been,

a private world, a self-reliance free from mock


and lure.  This hive whispers to itself in chimes,

screens, and blurry thumbs.  Each face ponders


the host in its cupped palms, unable to find

or lose, map or flee, to make a verb of life.



Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Husserlian Meditation: Thumb Drive


Not even thumb-sized anymore, the trope

has expired without leaving a denotation in place.


Amoeba Drive?  Why Flash? Everything in a computer

splays the universal mind before the pin of brain.


A whale shark hovers agape through a sea
of fertilized snapper eggs, gorging tens of thousands


in a gulp.  The shoal is undaunted, spilling

the milk of its future in numbers that humble


giant and single fish alike.  Each snapper swirling

in the unraveling knot of its tribe was one


egg which, devoid of singulars, smoked the waters

with exponentials to outbid hunger and element.


The USB on my fingertip holds ten lives of thought,

a library, and prairies--wheel with no axle--waiting


to unstarve the ever hollow gut of tiny life.

A world in a carat-sized bleak stone


inside a plastic case.  To the snapper, the whale shark

is a mobile Persia whose shadow leaves no room


for conquest.  To the whale shark, the snappers’ seed

is Kansas, a nest of horizons tireless in scroll. 


Nothing outshines or outsizes the mind, hence

it is our model of God, cosmos, and doubt.




RICARDO PAU-LLOSA is the author of seven books of poetry, the last five with Carnegie Mellon U Press.  His latest is Man (2014).   His work has appeared in: American Poetry Review, Arion, Barrow Street, Beloit Poetry Journal, Boston Review, december, The Fiddlehead, Hudson Review, Island, New England Review, Plume, Poetry, Southern Review, Stand, Virginia Quarterly Review, among many other journals. 



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