the poetry that matters

Gene Tanta

Gene Tanta was born in Timisoara, Romania in 1974, immigrating to Chicago in 1984 with his family at the age of 10. He earned his MFA in Poetry from the Iowa's Writers' Workshop in 2000. Rather than finishing a second MFA (in Painting and Drawing) he went to Mexico to draw people's heads and act as an international observer on the Zapatista bus caravan in 2000. He translates contemporary Romanian poetry. His publications include: Epoch, Ploughshares, Circumference Magazine, Exquisite Corpse, Watchword, Columbia Poetry Review, The Laurel Review and two collaborative poems with Reginald Shepherd anthologized in Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where he also serves as Art Director for Cream City Review.


pale murmurs dark yards

the wind doesn't freak you out


to skirl to cross

there were plenty of slits in her dress

for consuming and song

for alongside everything's char


to stir to slur

before her wide mouth

even some wood smoke thawing up

never mind the darkening   

the climb in climate

the underfoot-loud twigs of proverbs


a whale of a moron

a crow never looks back on


how many rainfalls

will it take to get you back dear ratio

to stream awnings together for example

to splinter light

to hang-up in your face

above the square-jawed mumblers of yore

to peel livers apart

to rewind a voice and to delete it


don't forget to pay for love

to tip the caddy


you have to crack a few skulls

to make a revolution

otherwise who will remember

to millstone your syllables


to lightening you rock to thunder you tree


some mother's gait to prove

clenched teeth

to open to wail

to knife and to diversify

his closed-captioned way back home


a bullwhip's spine is all rigor-n-snap


to shoelace a buck's eye to your guidelines

for a cadence  

and to wear sunglasses in movie houses

to fast the patriarch to bluestone

like hysteria-cries in the target-language


wayward tonnage snap-fades dear ratio

love has its strain fractures

and leaks milky

in broken singsong curses

to the skies in overalls and hardhats


noises gather

to say nothing

and to smoke


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