Day 43 of 365 – Paul Genega



for Aaron Fink & Anne Mastrangelo


Because the word seems vast
we blow it cold over frozen graves,
row after row of snow laden graves,
a wind which can’t be counted
like a century’s dark tears.

Or we break it down in decades –
the free rein of greed, sleeping psychosis
of swivel chair or park bench,
room upon room of disease,
the specific historical sense of generation.

But all of this is schooled
and we are always unschooled in tragedy.
It comes quickly and comes small –
the infant in his crib rattles once
and dies, as the grizzled wino dies

and the selfish stockbroker dies
and room upon room of my friends die
and the years fly by and die
and row upon row of slatted cribs go on –
we are all infants rattling eternity.


From All I Can Recall
by Paul Genega
Published by Salmon in 2013
Copyright © Paul Genega 2013



Paul Genega’s sixth full-length collection of poetry and his fourth with Salmon, Sculling on the Lethe, was published in 2018. It was preceded by All I Can Recall – from which the poem on this page is taken – in 2013. Over a forty year career, his work has appeared in a wide range of journals and magazines including Poetry, Paterson Literary Review, Stone Canoe, Stillwater Review and Narrative Northeast and in the anthologies Like Light (Bright Hill Press, 2017) and Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon, 2010). His work has received such honors as the Lucille Medwick Award (New York Quarterly), Discovery Award (The Nation), Charles Angoff Award (The Literary Review) and an individual fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His poetry is also featured in the forthcoming film Paging Doctor Faustus; ARTS by the People’s US/Israeli Moving Words project; and the play Ophelia in Brooklyn, premiering in Brussels, spring 2018. Genega taught for many years at Bloomfield College, New Jersey where he founded the creative writing program and served as Chair of Humanities. His legacy continues at Bloomfield through the Genega Endowed Scholarships in Creative Writing.

Visit the Salmon Poetry Online Bookshop to read more about this collection, including more sample poems