November 3, 2016

Kurt Brown

AT THE HEALTH CLUB

This is where we go to worship—
Chapel of Toned Flesh, Church of Immaculate Bone
and Gristle—each medieval
machine an altar upon which we burn
our fat’s holy tallow.
Prayers we grunt
seldom rise above piped in Soul Music and Rap,
a liturgy we follow week by week in order
that we might live and not be found
wanting.
And here, on the floor above, displays
of Sushi and clear broth, a chalice of icy froth
blended from prescribed berries,
for the body is a jealous god.

Absolved for now, and feeling good,
I step outside into snow that’s been falling for hours,
collecting in gutters like cellulite, to be scraped
away later by enormous trucks,
and all my limbs, anointed with the pure oil
of my effort, all my body sheathed in sweat,
freezes.

from Rattle #15, Summer 2001

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Kurt Brown: “I am forced to jostle other poets out of the way on every street corner. In a fit of idealism during the mid-1970s I founded the Aspen Writers’ Conference and devoted much of the next twenty years of my life to keeping it alive. I began publishing my own work in the 1990s.” (website)