Tag Archives: River Styx

Poetry Spotlight – Andrew Cox

I was hooked the moment I read the opening poem Two Plus Two Equals Five from The Equation that Explains Everything, BlazeVOX by poet and UCity Review editor Andrew Cox.

The poem won the International Poetry Prize from River Styx (Judged by Philip Levine) and I’m thrilled that Andrew is letting me highlight it on Writeliving. I have always been intrigued by poems that are constructed with a single run-on sentence. Two Plus Two Equals Five shows real artistry in traveling far in 24 lines, and using non-elevated language that allows us to follow the broken logic in our lives.

– Martin Ott

Two Plus Two Equals Five

And so a toy drum equals a Saturday Night Special,

a boy grows up to be a foot doctor, a little girl

subtracts yes from no and lives out the sum,

multiplying it by minus one on her death bed,

saying, “yes, father, I’m coming, don’t leave me,”

while a stuffed rabbit equals a lingering good-bye,

good-bye to the one face we’ll never see again,

except in the past (that string unwinding behind us,

because you’ll never know when you’ll have to go back)

and so one wedding gown (packed in mothballs

in a cedar chest in an attic) divided by a field

(blanketed by snow and unmarred by footsteps)

equals a fierce longing and yet, for what, the man

who talks to himself can’t say, only that it has

something to do with frost-bitten  feet and someone

who plays a flute and someone who beats a drum

and many marching forward, always forward

and slightly out of step, always…and so one broken nose

equals the scar from triple bypass surgery and the return

to a simple way of life, if we could only get there,

if we could only find that perfect mattress

on which to flop, the perfect soap for washing off

the day’s residue, the perfect moment to unveil

our new hope in the equation that explains everything.

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