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By Ross Gay

                              —for Patrick Rosal

Because I must not

get up to throw down in a café in the Midwest,

I hold something like a clownfaced herd

of bareback and winged elephants

stomping in my chest,

I hold a thousand

kites in a field loosed from their tethers

at once, I feel

my skeleton losing track

somewhat of the science I’ve made of tamp,

feel it rising up shriek and groove,

rising up a river guzzling a monsoon,

not to mention the butterflies

of the loins, the hummingbirds

of the loins, the thousand

dromedaries of the loins, oh body

of sunburst, body

of larkspur and honeysuckle and honeysuccor

bloom, body of treetop holler,

oh lightspeed body

of gasp and systole, the mandible’s ramble,

the clavicle swoon, the spine’s

trillion teeth oh, drift

of hip oh, trill of ribs,

oh synaptic clamor and juggernaut

swell oh gutracket

blastoff and sugartongue

syntax oh throb and pulse and rivulet

swing and glottal thing

and kick-start heart and heel-toe heart

ooh ooh ooh a bullfight

where the bull might

take flight and win!


Ross Gay, "A Poem in which I Try to Express My Glee at the Music My Friend Has Given Me" from Bringing the Shovel Down.  Copyright © 2011 by Ross Gay. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011)

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Poet Bio

Ross Gay
Ross Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio. Gay is an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press and is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin.' He earned a BA from Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University. He teaches at Indiana University. See More By This Poet

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