Literature 5-7-2007

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Mitch Marr

"What Light: This Week's Poem," sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers, brings you a poem every week by a Minnesota poet, selected by a panel of writers and publishers. An anthology of poets is now out; look for it at Magers & Quinn.

Mitch Marr

Be My Lee Miller

I take pictures of them while they sleep,

Faint, archetypal shades.

I switch off the lamp and don’t use a flash.

A shoebox full of silhouettes
And naked, slaked men
Who still are not you.

There is no progress in the act,
Only a reconstruction of fables
In which they share your face.
They wear masks of you.

But they are never you
Tomorrow. Sometimes

I kiss the mirror opposite the window,
my lips hanged just above the skyline
like a pitched moon lying prostrate
over their still, shadowed frames.


Poetry is in a strange and pivotal stage because of the way information and education are changing. People are arriving at the genre through different paths, even different mediums now. In the tradition of surrealists, the beat generation and jazz poets, I enjoy the ways non-traditional elements inform my work. Formal education is valuable and I love the Whitman, but I also love Radiohead and Pollock. So while the current socio-political climate directs most of my subject matter, other mediums and artists tend to influence the rhythm and mood of my prose.


Mitch Marr is a writer, poet and activist living in the Fargo-Moorhead area. A recent college graduate, he flirted briefly with the New York publishing world before returning to the area to watch and, when he can, help the scenery change. He is currently working on a manuscript and collaborating with area visual artists.