National Poetry Month Day 5: Ari Banias







Here the trees appear
pasted up against the side of it
in front of hills. Partly this has to do with light partly
with position.

Wanting a perceptual shift, stare up.
Against the side
of what has no sides

here in front of some hills with no front.




What it feels to be; what you are told.

The stubborn programming.




The single palm on the horizon
a shaggy lap dog. A figurine
on a mantel
waiting to be noticed or dusted…




The highway’s curve
is a thought someone had,

and we travel the shape
of that thought.




Space junk, earth junk, human waste.
From here looks “empty” or “clean.”

It’s a matter of position.

Police helicopters, pilotless aircraft, satellites,
warplanes I don’t know the names of.
The color deepens. Try to see this as a clarification.




Pacific grating the side of the bluff

Pacific we only touch like this

never arriving




A light in the distance. The idea of “the distance.”




I put my hand on your leg to assure myself
of what?




These mountains appear to divide
something green from something yellow
something brown from something browner. Something greyish with lines in it.




Multimillion-dollar homes small enough to crush under my thumb


Photograph of Ari Banias by Solmaz Sharif.

Ari Banias is the author of the forthcoming A Symmetry (W. W. Norton, 2021), and Anybody (W. W. Norton, 2016). His recent work appears in bæst, The Nation, and in We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat, 2020). He lives in Oakland. More from this author →