Mark Scott

"the best damned poet in the business"

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Toccata

I. The world’s abrasive. Its buildings are heavy. The earth is fairly firm. The whole universe is tense. II. We don’t know what will happen next. The moment of contact is frightening, so we have affairs. III. There’s no explaining the things people get good at or the people who get good at things. IV. Sara’s living room was lofty and dark. Then one afternoon she put on The Allman […]

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Voice Training

How evenly my grandmother’s pan conducts the heat! It’s Revere, she’d say, that’s a good brand. But her voice did it better yet— chafed nothing, nothing ever scorched. She was always hungry for love, a pretty, dark little thing who thought Black Beauty too much of a name for her mare and so called her Dude; had a bitch named Reilly, after the man she got her from, a nice […]

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Old Love for New

(Denver, summer of 1983) Pretty soon it all mixes together and you can’t tell which noise goes with cicadas, which crickets. What is it, this stupid juice? At least the drink is clear. Suck it down and smash out: the futile suburban dogs bark, dumb moths splatter wing-dust on the water: crazy thinking of you, my balm and my other. Men they take a thing you say and can’t repeat […]

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Action at a Distance

It occurs. The explanation is incomplete. Speech is grooming at a distance. I am at a distance, come from an ape. I look at the back of my hand, the front. A monkey walks in. I throw him out a dormer window. An earthquake starts. He runs to the verge of the yard and manipulates an orange as a mechanic spins a wheel to see if it’s true. Had our […]

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Charm

Our nakedly autobiographical memoir columnist fires off emails when he isn’t writing autofiction. We try to clean his tool at source. His ouster is coming. Let us wet his coordinates before Odious writes his history and the gray areas stand out. “Charm” is one of those. Latin in all its vitals and Greek as a talking point, charm is now a global concern. It’s hard to like people you can’t […]

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A Dream of Bloom

Last night in a dream I met Harold Bloom’s friend of thirty years. We were eating artichokes and oil, and his friend, who was the father of the bride whose wedding I was attending, forged a declaration I had to sign saying that he was my father. I didn’t think it would pass muster, but he was sure it would. It was a formality. Finish your dinner and let’s go. […]

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