Poem Composed Entirely with Last Lines from Tony Hoagland Poems

As I was walking through the Springdale Mall

somewhere outside Pittsburgh

down into the belly of the world,


I made a word my friend

with my breathless mouth.

No one knows why


it all turned upside down

to keep both of us amused,

in chains,


and capable of saying anything —

as to make us seem magnificent.

Galloping through bubbles


of any brave new world–

and everybody passes

with his practical black eyes .


This was our marvelous punishment:

to learn something about loneliness

and clap.

James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Arctic Books, 2011). He has published many poems in places like Anderbro, Arts & Letters, River Styx, and Verse Daily. His ficiton is also widely published in places like Elimae, Los Angeles Review, Potomac Review, and storySouth. He lives in Issaquah, Washington.