A Poem By Frank Alvarez



I found my hurt at the center

of the universe which is always

in front of my face. The drug that

hugs me to sleep can keep me


from it; an inkling of the nothing

happening around, and who can say

we are not half as beautiful and numb

as we have made us. Technologies


resemble stars in the now ever-

twilight sky, but not one bright

gaseous burn. To speak for anyone

would not be right, but for me


I can say I am attached tonight

to my ways of beauty, and just

when I think to not contend with

the present I’m in, I trip within it.


Factory, business, bureaucracy,

home, all of the human above,

please turn off your lights for me.

The earth is tender and paper


thin and I have not once today

commended me for noticing how

green grass is. In this new hot Jupiter

of a summer, what a bummer


to lose even the option of stars.

I can’t begin to feel my own anger,

or believe we truly know ourselves

through and through. The static


of one brain, this might just be

the plight of my socioeconomic

status. I’m no zoo animal that’s

for sure. However, that we were


specks once we must fess up to.

There was something lost called

the starry night, they were innumerable

flecks of dead light that sparked


the meditation of men and women.

Each one had a name. Don’t count

on a next life or recovery. Make new

heavens, and ways to protect them.

Frank Alvarez is a recent Mayapple Foundation Fellow and graduate of the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Originally from Westchester, New York, he currently lives in Los Angeles.



Featured Image Credit: Frank Alvarez
About the Author /

Christopher Blackman is a poet and educator. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Ohio State University. His poems have been published in the Atlas Review. He was a 2015 teaching fellow with the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Manhattan, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at Columbia University.

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