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Susan Lewis reads from Zoom

Susan Lewis read with Danielle Pafunda at the Zinc Bar on Monday night, April 9. The place was packed; they even had to get more chairs, but I’d gotten there early to position myself at the bar where I could steady my iPhone with my elbow as I recorded Susan reading from her new book, Zoom, which is published by Word Works, a perfect reading by a playful poet who has fun with how words work by themselves or placed among others, playful in the sense of how children learn as they have fun, playful poems that Susan sent me (and I include below) for the reader to say “Aha!” as they read along. Enjoy.

I Can’t Say How We Got This Far

First I’m wading through daisies, nosing your breath, then we’re like this, not one way but its opposite, in ever-more confusing rondo form. That we fail doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to align ourselves, give or take reality’s allowance. Do you hear the crickets yelling at those hungry birds? Do you smell the storm crackling in the hollows? I’ve tossed petals at the lot of them, they are not impressed. You would call me desperate, & I would demur. I would call you Babyface, or Salamander, or Mr. Critical, depending on the stuck market & the relative humility. Now there’s sorrow raining down from the agitated clouds. Perhaps they yearn for a more congenial atmosphere. They, too, are underappreciated. Meanwhile you’ve aced more mean feats, leaving me jealous of my former self. Call it sweet-&-sour grapes, call it no-strings-attached, either way we might be sorry, & sometimes I am. Other times I tremble for more of the same.

In the Meantime,

like dancing rabbis or hen-pecked pigeons, complicated. Gracile. Ambling with the melody. Kiss me on the downbeat; show me your teeth. Hum. When you flex this sentiment I remember mostly everything. The babies riding on our backs. The surf cooling our tails. How you loved to ruffle my feathers. Another brand of passion for another version of this swirling flesh. The way you shoved your paws in your pockets, sleek as sheets. Your thoughts might have lost me but there’s still one language only we can speak, if ever atmospheric conditions favor us again. I can wait if you can, until the balance sheet weighs in with a wink or a nod or any kind of sign.

First the Gleam & Glitter

of something dazzling yet murky as magic, a new idea or a new view. Unreal to you but never to me. In which one of us wrong, blind because unwilling, unwilling because afraid. One slippery reality mistaken for another. A beautiful boy with long legs & the possibility of emergence. This might mean intoxication or disorderly words, pigment or angle of light, clouds or a girl whose eyes smile no matter who looks into them. This might be a beauty to be earned. By which I mean a lesser horror withstood. Deny & ignore or return to square one, try again or never in this arid limbo, this craven how-to, this picking-apart, this aha of comprehension, this one-way tunneling to the hope of any other.

Zoom is published by Word Works Books. You can check them out here:


Susan Lewis is the founding editor of Posit, an online journal of literature and art.
You can check Posit out here:


and check out Susan Lewis here:


Zoom can be preordered at:


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