Love Poem for People Who Hate Themselves: Heaven and Hell

by Christopher Kennedy

From here I see the dim lights of the reactor towers and the moon at the end of its tether.

A mother and father wave their children in from the water to the beach, where melancholic flies inspect a half-eaten fish, their Dante-circle shrinking as they lower toward the sun-bleached flesh.

I’m forced to watch through the eyes of the animal that brought me here, the animal I’m trapped inside of, confused and untamable.

The children dive under, ignoring their parents’ calls, as if they’ve forgotten their given names.

Christopher Kennedy is the author of four collections of poetry, Ennui Prophet (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2011), Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2007), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, Trouble with the Machine (Low Fidelity Press, 2003), and Nietzsche’s Horse (Mitki/Mitki Press, 2001).

He is one of the translators, along with Faisal Siddiqui and Mi Ditmar, of Light and Heavy Things: Selected Poems of Zeeshan Sahil, which will be published in June of this year by BOA Editions, Ltd. as part of the Lannan Foundation Translation Series.

Kennedy’s work has appeared in numerous print and on-line journals and magazines, including Ploughshares, McSweeney’s, The Threepenny Review, Mississippi Review, Tampa Review, Fourteen Hills, Del Sol Review, New York Tyrant, The Cream City Review, and Plume.

He is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as a poetry grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation. One of the founding editors of the literary journal, 3rd Bed, he is an associate professor of English at Syracuse University where he directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

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