Lewis Freedman’s “I Want Something Other Than Time” is one of dozens of poems with this same title, published in his book of the same name. In the forthcoming special edition, each poem is styled in the same arched shape, which bears the trace of its initial composition, by hand, in a curved diagonal in the poet’s notebooks. Each poem also has a metaphysical fixation, performing a sticky reckoning with questions of being and time, enacted in language that travels swiftly and surprisingly between the casual and the philosophical. In this iteration, it is the question of death — and its seemingly indefatigable forces, “the death guys” — that is met with the sweet bewilderment of a poet. Poem Selected by Anne Boyer
Credit…Illustration by R. O. Blechman
I Want Something Other Than Time
By Lewis Freedman
There is no victory
over death, guys.
The death guys free themselves
making themselves uncategorizable
again & again
the end an elastic dominion,
artifice for us.
I was recruited to be a poet, but our world,
one of indefinite centers, has all the imitation,
gnosis, & intermediaries it could burn (even
this exceptional fatigue). Whatever. There
being no splice to disclose us further,
we still need private languages to bear
eros into touch, to pass ourselves into
attunement, to pass as imminent sonorous things.
The sun, you say, remains unintelligible.
I’m like, ditto the parent. All
these alchemical codes
inscribing us to
live by thoughts,
Anne Boyeris a poet and an essayist. Her memoir about cancer and care, “The Undying,” won a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. Lewis Freedman is a poet who currently lives in Tulsa, Okla. His recent books include “I Want Something Other Than Time” (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2021) and “Residual Synonyms for the Name of God” (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016).