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 https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/
CLOSE PIECE WORK
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.
ELSA AND LOUIS RECEIVE A REVIEW COPY OF A BOOK OF LIMERICKS, 1953
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.
GHAZAL OF THE EYES
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.