Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu   was recently published by Encircle Publications.

A new collection, Something to Be and a novel are forthcoming.

He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, he’s looking for work again.

He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and four full length collections so far. His first chapbook won the Negative Capability Award.

Titles on request.

A meager online presence can be found at


                                Confianzaen el anteojo, no en el ojos;
				Reliance on the eyeglasses, not the eye
						—César Vallejo
						Reliance on the eyeglasses

			He unsilvered his mirror, quick as a nun
			enlacing sins by candlelight. This face
			must vanish. He’d keep his shoulder, sloping
			away from true north. Before he was done
			he’d slip through crowds slick as new mercury.
			This was the one way he knew to erase
			a world—so there’d be nothing left to see—
			just shapes. One sight left to make glass sing.


Perched on gargoyles
they croak sad hymns

then fly away once
they hear those songs

bouncing back off
a diamond moon.


A bagatelle for James and Sharon
		His thin fingers unwrapped a fat brown book.
		He smiled at typing Elsa. He said, “look,
		we can practice our English—once your report 
		is done. I have those proofs to sort,
 		but then.” Coffee cups rattle. They worked.
		Light went dim in Paris. The last key barked.
		She spread the pages offered for review.
		Louis laid his hands on her shoulders. “You
		should read that one. We’ve done that.”. “Once,” she said.
		“You thanked me.” He smiles at memory. “You led
		me astray” Elsa sniffs at her cool man.
		“Read them out loud. I’ll help you where I can.”
		Those dirty songs rain from her Commie mouth.
		His hands slide down her breasts heading south.
		“It’s a pity you’re not from Nantucket.”


				Poetries brush
				my skin

				leaving light
				sounds behind.

				A damp cloth tickles
				piano keys.


For herself

			I glutted myself with looking on her.
							—Samuel Pepys
							Saturday, August 23, 1662

			There’s nothing more holy than the sight of her.
			Open this book. Read by the light of her.

			Polish your small words to drop in her long day
			knowing they can never shine as bright as her.

			She keeps watch after dark. She’s braver than you
			but come sunset, evening’s angels frighten her.

			Her purity’s her own and she’s pure enough
			but she wears it loose—virtue’s not tight on her.

			Be careful to find some god to thank
			before taking the gift of a night with her.

			Close this old book and breathe out the day.
			Your soul is marked by the perfect sight of her.

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