Tuesday Poem: ‘Something to do with death’ by Sam Rasnake

kicking off January with a poem, and a link to more poems…

Something to do with death

– Sweetwater Station, Arizona, 1869

Red dust from Monument Valley through
swinging doors in Spain, miracles of time
and space among the worn buttes and olive

ground. That breath of myth we never escape –
a well, a bath, a gandy’s cup. The town begins
in the desert by spike, by rail, by land cut,

somewhere between madness and providence,
with leftover timber from Orson Welles’ take
on Falstaff – his best film according to some.

Well-honed battles and blood crossing the sea
into Arizona’s geography of lost innocence,
with deafening cracks of gunfire, eyes in extreme

close-up, the body of a woman’s perfect resolve.
The face as landscape that needs no word.
Flapping dusters, an old windmill screeching,

one fly buzzing, water dripping to a hat’s brim.
Everything expendable. Everyone. An unbearable
wait for the train’s scream of steel on steel.

Nothing is as it seems. Greed, vengeance, hope.
Discordant rattles, duello finale, all sweat and swoon.
A man rides away. A woman brings water.


This poem was first published in the fourth quarterly issue of A Baker’s Dozen in December 2012.
Sam Rasnake’s works, receiving five nominations for the Pushcart Prize, have appeared in The Southern Poetry Anthology,MiPOesias Companion 2012Best of the Web 2009LUMMOX 2012BOXCAR Poetry Review Anthology 2, and Dogzplot Flash Fiction 2011. He is the author of four collections: Necessary Motions (Sow’s Ear Press), Religions of the Blood (Pudding House Press), Lessons in Morphology (GOSS183), and Inside a Broken Clock(Finishing Line Press). He is also editor of the poetry journal Bluefifth Review which has been online since 2001 and morphed in 2011 into Blue Five Notebook. More of Sam’s stuff can be found at sam of the ten thousand things.


Be sure to stop in and see the other poems posted this week by the Tuesday Poem collective — by clicking below. This week features a poem by this year’s Robert Burns Fellow David Howard, posted by Tuesday Poem co-host Claire Benyon – and includes a poem and a multi-layered discussion. Click below for Howard’s poem and all the others this week as the Tuesday Poem tradition continues.

Tuesday Poem For more Tuesday Poems, go here.

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8 Responses to Tuesday Poem: ‘Something to do with death’ by Sam Rasnake

  1. Orchid says:

    Thanks for sharing this poem.

  2. marydanae says:

    lovely introduction to this poet, thanks Michelle … I like where his mind goes

  3. susan tepper says:

    I am totally blown away by this poem.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Ooh, I love the haphazard creation – the town constructed from leftover timber from a film set. The last line is so simple, definitive and yet so powerful in its matter-of-factness. Came back to it several times – precisely what a great poem should do! Thanks for sharing, Michelle and Sam 🙂

    • Thank you so much for stopping in and leaving your thoughtful comment, Elizabeth! Yes, this one is worthy of many reads. So glad you enjoyed it. Will be seeing more of you in Feb. Thank you!

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