Gary Sullivan and K. Silem Mohammad
Jacket Photos of Various Poets
for David Hess
When this photo was taken, I was unaware, so lost in thought was I.
See the many books in the case behind my head? I have read and am familiar with each
I do not need to shave, brush my teeth, comb my hair, change my clothing, nor eat … for,
poetry sustains me!
Having finished carefully crafting each of the poems in this collection, I have rolled back
down the sleeves of my Pendleton.
I am a survivor. My hunched back and the rings under my eyes do testify.
Poetry, especially mine, is a complex metaphysics of shadows and longing, the pondering
of which causes me to be almost unbearably attractive.
I am white, my turtleneck black.
At this renowned institution of higher learning, we take pride in our appearance. That
means blow-drying and regular visits to the dentist!
Here I am in the city. It’s a big, scary city. I make this big, scary city my home. You,
reading my poetry in the hinterlands, you do not know this city!
If I were afraid to show you my dirty pores and nostril hairs in close-up, I might be afraid
to write my searingly honest, unsparing brand of poetry. Thank god neither is the case!
I’m too busy doing vital social work to stop and have my picture taken … oh fine, just get
it over with.
Digging in my organic garden in Bolinas, I remain convinced of the possibility of
socialist utopia in our time!
My expressionlessness is just one more empty sign waiting to be ideologically colonized.
To pretend otherwise is absurd.
Of course I’ll have sex with you. Why else would I pose like this?
You think you know wintry vistas of human grief, sonny? You ain’t never worn my
Yes, that is X, the famous poet, next to me. We are on speaking terms!
Obviously, I am insane. Colorful anecdotes of my unbalanced nature precede me. The
wind blows through my hair … O, poetry!