Jeffrey Cyphers Wright


Even grass prays for meaning, each
blade marrying dirt and light.

The moon inches up, confessing
to both envy and lust.

We spoke for an hour
about giving ourselves assignments

without getting permission.
July. Persimmons are in season.

Red wine and blue smoke.
Steve Cannon has left the building.

The sky is lost in a purple robe.
The bells of St. Mark’s give me a chill.

Grass rejoices when we come home.
And leaves applaud the wind.


It wasn’t until we left the casino
that I began Begging Lessons. Even

now, my lips won’t speak to each other.
Trying to decide on sole or flounder.

The harbor sloshes in pearly galoshes.
The air, thick. The bathroom door sticks.

Tuesday relaxes in its smoking jacket.
Giving fire a haircut.

Listening to “The Cuckoo” by Respighi,
I depend on winks from the Sphinx.

All the chimaera dance to my tune
in their pursuit of the present.

Let us be measured by devotion.
NO VACANCY fills our vision.

Publisher and editor, Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, moved to New York City in 1976 and began Hard Press, publishing poetry postcards and books. He attended workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project with Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley, and Jim Brodey. He went on to study with Allen Ginsberg at Brooklyn College, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry. Wright launched Cover Magazine in 1987. Wright is the author of 17 books of verse including, most recently, Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press, Radio Poems from The Operating System, and Fake Lies from Fell Swoop. Wright contributes criticism regularly to the American Book Review and ArtNexus. Recently, he received a Kathy Acker Award for writing and publishing. Currently, he produces literary events in NYC at La Mama ETC, Howl! Happening, and KGB Lit Bar, in conjunction with his annual art and poetry journal, LiVE MAG!