Joshua Butts – Retrospective

Joshua Butts


The sound of ancients
through modern equipment.

The LP a form
on the rungs of the 45

to bring an unbroken sequence
a level of attention

never forced through the reeds
into the mind,

a note of the squeal
of a crowd compendium.

Live on the date from 1888
for chickens, weather.

Devil sightings: 1951 and 1966.
Chenoweth sand dance, 1901.

A collection of
Brandywine tomatoes, 1977.

You can’t keep cannibals away—
they continue to eat their own.

Seed gatherers picnic.
Envelope collectors filing party.

They give up and roll around
in some grass and flip the manila

until it means the immediate proximity
of sky is an approximation of heaven.

For a young woman, the hunger of cooking,
while listening to Fairport Convention,

living long enough to see culture
ensure a burn from a bulb

not yet cracked through this green and secure earth,
the grapes over the dew-starved mouth,

the character of the egg farmer, the can man, the car dealer—
that cancels all swell complaints.

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