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Aaron Kunin



oa trip to pain city [title]

a trip to pain city [title] our first
guy enters the “city” and breaks
his glasses (“to” sustain
“the” pleasure one
takes in looking) so everything
is blurred at “first”

“his” outline appeared rather vague
“and” everyone was struck by “his”
appearance as though (he had no
body) searching
“in” “his” breast [pocket] “as though” trying “to”
dig out “his” heart

i don’t have a “body” but “i” am
able “to” produce impressions
of “one” through layering or “by”
using mirrors
electrostatic printing “or”
pieces “of” gummed

paper “a” process that made it
possible “to” walk without too
much “pain” “in” their comfortless shoes
“so” practical
when i’m not lying on cars “i’m”
“a” brain surgeon


title: tremblingly alive

emotion concentrated in
small things fifty mosquito bites
thirty on the legs “the” only
cure for “the” itch
was counting them “the only” way
to stop scratching

“was” writing about “them” (“in” my
death i am alone but “the” pain
of “my death” will be shared with you)
“the” base “of” this
hand (covered “with” burns and rashes
aches “and” pains all

“you” can say “you” own) “the” lint “in”
your pockets (“all you” really “own”)
one fruit “in” which many fruits are
collected “and”
“i” offer “you” half (“this” is “the”
most delicious

bit) “but” elizabeth “you” must
never put bananas “in” “the”
refrigerator she presses
herself against
“the” door “and” “this” “door” is over
one hundred years

old very fragile please do not
lean against it or try “to” force
“it” fully open (thanks) like “the”
hotel whose name
“she” shares alive “and” trembling “with”

AARON KUNIN is the author of Folding Ruler Star (Fence Books, 2005), a collection of small poems about shame; and a novel, The Mandarin (Fence Books, 2008). He lives in California and is Assistant Professor of Negative Anthropology at Pomona College.

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