Juliana Leslie


A patient feeling I heard you say
a patient mouth absorbs the spark of a secret train

moving into the birdhouse to abandon the actual
our secret tender and electric paper boat

The point is to remove the self from the emerging
of the lucky and the disbelieving who are the same

A shiny noise makes a happy landing
insisting that life be the one tree, the one

happy signatory, form of starling


Hello calculator hello lucent opposite
of human

I didn’t get lost when I went through
I gave away my salty velveteen when I divided

This was then and that was also

from inside this color bespoke
the paper bag over the theoretical head

of the living

My first syllable the wanted fox

of winter fall


In the end we will have the titanic the elevating and the harmonic
the rabbit quixotic as an imitation of a novel by Kafka

In this density of movable parts I can only love
the molecules I am about to become

when you are the maker of the fantastic
undressing a sunflower

implied sleeping iris


How lucky we are to have fingertips

how lucky the 1,000 verbs
will eat of the hand of their conductor

given the chance

Liminal workers in the underworld of the kind professor

the face of Aristotle also the conductor
of these colossal heads of sailors

I repeat

we are green whole zeros we are given the sleepiest glow worm quietly falling

in this almost human of trains

Softer More Radiant Signal

Tell me more about
crayons, contingency
and winter fruit
polyamorous structural
we know aren’t always the best
for human hands anyway
Tell me she is all worn out
from work
and thinking
the ghostly opposite
or optimistic messenger
a perpetual shoe shine
or softer
more brilliant
I embrace
More palpable and more
Tell me we need
more rigor
more strings
Tell me we need more
of what happens to bodies when bodies decide
to say what they want more of
More love in the vernacular
for example
More words like
longing, appetite, hunger
more bodies to willfully embrace
in summer kitchens
Tell me you want more sublimation
of history
by palpable whim
and fancy
More French in brunette
more four inside five
more singular features to render
clean of muscle, more
More of that feeling
that accompanies an unsettled
state of being
More of the condition of being
naturally disposed to several
different feelings
tell me more about these words
turbulent, euphoria, indiscrete

Two Ideas

Are you in love with a rutabaga?
I beg you
be a different be a better
People like to be inside
Cadmium green deep
robin’s egg blue


When history fits inside
a package of seeds
Floating open waterways
fingers and toes
Here we are in America
learning to whistle

Two More Ideas in a Different Mode

The kite is a bird

today and it thinks

it dreams up

to its chest

in a flock of itself


I am craving

salty paper to sink

my funny cheek

my salty window

at water’s edge

Juliana Leslie teaches in Santa Cruz, California. These four poems are from More Radiant Signal (Letter Machine Editions, 2010).

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