“The World Is Beautiful but You Are Not in It”

A Poem by Morgan Parker

July 14, 2021  By Morgan Parker

Let me refer to myself in glorious ways:
Colors seem brighter, the sky is a shocking blue.

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I carry my stomach in this bowl
and earth is planted in my blood.

From your last letter, I gather hills.
I’m trying to keep my tenderness in check.

Trying to see what kind of grill the neighbors have
is everything I couldn’t do before.

Now brown eggs shift heavy in my palms, this bowl.
Words make their way up my thigh.

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I swear very nice boy and I refer to myself.
No. The hills are holding you and I refer to myself.

Let’s be honest: I need a real man, I say out loud.
Every weakness I have settles into a tree trunk,

stays all winter. I don’t know if I mean it.
Winter has lasted five years already.

This morning I press into the edges of my stomach.
My mother makes coffee in California.

Ladies will say we are expert with machines
but they will be under two pitchers of sangria.

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I said you could make music out of this.
Ingesting artificial palm trees, exploding.

Your letters are getting shorter. I am getting close
enough to the sun to touch the tip of its cigar.

We carry what is shocking and heavy in blood.
Music seems brighter: the sky the sky.


morgan parker other people's comfort keeps me up at night

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Excerpted from Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker. Copyright (c) 2015 by Morgan Parker. First published by Switchback Books. Tin House edition (c) 2021.

Morgan Parker
Morgan Parker
Morgan Parker is the author of Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015), selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize. Her poetry and essays have been featured in numerous publications as well as anthologized in Why I Am Not a Painter (Argos Books 2011) and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books 2015). Morgan is Cave Canem graduate fellow, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and poetry editor for The Offing. She also co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series with Tommy Pico, and with Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She lives in Brooklyn.

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