the poetry that matters

a.m. kozak

a.m. kozak currently resides in ottawa, ontario. His poetry has appeared in carousel, ottawater, Bywords.ca and in three consecutive issues of generation, while his nonfiction has appeared in the Ottawa Arts Review and his first penned play Take Me Out was performed in October 2010 at the University of Ottawa.  He is the co-creator of the blUe mOndays reading series and has been the featured reader at Tree Reading Series. He is currently working on his first screenplay set to be filmed in late 2011.


they won’t find out) if
              i & yu &
the air we steal
build a box of
              cushions & latex &
purple flowers yu'd

; bring the green eye make
up yu prolly spent
hours applyin &
that new hairdo or
       w/e it is cuz
i haven’t seen yu in five
months & i'd

—bring my posture i’ve
been workin on &
the words i learnt from
readin nineteenth centry
    fiction & maybe a few pieces of
paper to cover our

bodies (they won’t find
out) my (space-deep, time-
deep abstract-deep  h y p o t h e t i c a l deep word-
             only)    dear
: we’d live w/
                   books & lattes &
paperthin cutouts (they won’t find



the air's too thin to
wrap around, it  s l
                                                  right thru

my fingers, babe,

i close them and grab
as quick as i can, but
it always seems to escape.

and i’m too dense to    s   o    a    r    thru
clouds, oh sweetheart,
i’m tied right down.

to overcome my weighted state, i
just—need—you, to
                                                           d                   , securely like

fingers twirl your hair.

but it's all left up to
chance, my dear, ‘cause
     you’re       as      thin      as        air.



sight is sketchy cuz of sweat
but my horse knows where he’s goin
       prolly sniffin at the one he follows
       saw em flirtin before the match
and my legs are numb from all the bouncin
but it’s okay cuz my horse yeah he fuckin knows



a bottle of orange juice sits on an end table.
the bottle is empty, it was orange juice.
there is a ring around the bottom, yellowish
orange, and it sits on an end table.
a bottle of (previously) orange juice sits on
an end table, between two leather chairs,
but not real leather, and not with foot rests,
though large with armrests built into their structure,
and not actually orange juice.
the yellowish orange is diluted with spit.
a bottle of drunken orange juice sits on
an end table, oval, cyclical, grooves for
small fingers to clutch and dip to the throat.
the most orange is in the picture
of an orange, one whole, two slices on the
sides, perhaps navel (4012), maybe mandarin (4055).
a bottle with a picture of an orange
sits on an end table, with the caption
ORANGE, 100% juice, as if we were doubting.
(probably from concentrate, its
label needs to overcompensate.)
a (former) bottle of orange juice sits on
an end table, unrecycled.
its lid is blue and doesn't match.
a bottle of at one point, orange juice,
now, who knows, sits on an
end table, observing.
someone will eventually
take it on an adventure, trash or blue bin.
a bottle of orange juice sits on an end table,
and it knows its purpose, unmoved until
a Mover moves it.
unnoticed except by me, and
perhaps the person in the (fake)
leather chair, reclined.
a bottle of orange juice sits on an end table,
content, proud, on its feet.
no one bothers it, it bothers no one.
it has an unobstructed view of the window.
a bottle of orange juice sits on an end table,
and i, am jealous.


on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker

                                     slippers spin in a bedroom
                                                                    arms fold into a heart

umbrella dresses
                                      (snow white
                                          blushes underneath)

                        mouse king
                                                               prancin around

                                    why are you dancing

                                                 with that toy
                                                                                          (but you
                                                                                                   really gotthehots for
                                                                                    mr. drosselmeier’s


         are you

                                                                        you’re a

            guest inthis palace
                                                       (you think you’d
                                                                       at leasthavethe
                                                                                 to sit back
                                                                                                               and watch)


            are you dancing,
                                                                 isn’t  this
                                                                                                the fairy’s

                                        i don’t see you

            the depth of your magic is
                                                  spinning with a
                                                                     toy you’ve decided
                                                             to project
                                                                                    your (wet)warm
                                                                       shivers for that
                                                                                                         russian boy

                          why are you dancing,
                                                                       is the

         not good enough          t
                                                                                     for you?

                                                                                        in her own


da da dA dA
                                            da da da
                                                             da da da
                                                                               (da da da)
                                                                                                  da dA da dA da
                                                                                                                                dadadadada . . .

                                        that’s not your song

                 are you

                                                                                             the fairy’s just
                                                                                                                 sitting there,

            (she even made

                                      why are you
                                                            dancing, Clara?

                                                                                              exotic performances

                        (she’s trying
                                                                             to en-ter
                                                                                            tain you!)

            leave that toy

                                                                    you're twelve years

                                                                                                            wake up,

                                                why are you



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                                                                                                                                 July 11, 2011