Without a Claim is a book of leave-taking and transience, filled with poems about loss and decline, poems that look at the world intently but refuse to cling or assert dominion.
“I love to see those tall, lean, muscular men/with their clean-shaven heads and digital” a poem by Barbara Goldberg
Many of Piazza’s poems insightfully—powerfully—explore this idea, illustrating the ways in which fear and love are not abstract emotional states but transformative processes of physical and psychological becoming.
Dear friend, asleep / upright in a seat / when I boarded the train / goat-stepping over / your legs outstretched / why didn’t I wake you / but instead watched / you sleep. A poem by Joshua Weiner.
Raphael Cohen reviews Schtick by Kevin Coval.
After a funeral, they were covered with black cloth, / some draped with shawls like a scalloped valance. / … anything to shroud the odd-shaped mirrors, / though sometimes a corner was exposed like a woman / whose ankle peeks forbidden from under a long skirt. A poem by Carol V. Davis.
I encounter a woman from a long way off / Almost every morning when I walk my dog / In a certain park between certain hours / That have not changed the whole season long. A poem by Stuart Dischell.
the repeated words / sometimes made me think twice before / whimpering about a bruise on my knee, / or foolishly I would say the line just when she did…
You enter the country next door from under the stone / Church of the Redeemer / subway exit. No Pork Chinese Restaurant / and Mr. Chicken, flank the avenue / both strictly halal.
“On a night with a new moon, owls/ called, back and forth, over the house.” A poem by Arthur Sze.
“Black coffee at noon with fellow sufferers. / The bleak cups squeak in our hands. So do the chairs…” A poem by Kenneth Fields.
Not counting what I can’t remember, / the closest I ever came to her was when I put my hand / inside the urn…
With a smooth blade, he slit the throats of steers, / drained the blood into a bucket, salted the meat / to make it fully kosher. A poem by Carol V. Davis.
I don’t know why I pulled over, idling, right before Christmas, two months of snow and
plowed onto the shoulder, each squat rambler aglow, a life-size baby Jesus reborn in the
DiPasquale’s front yard,
why everything looked different, the way the woods you got lost in as a kid seem small
and disappointing when you return to them older,
because I hadn’t been out of there that long, less than a year, and as far as I could tell in
the December blur,
beyond the slight expansion of the motherhouse infirmary, where the sick nuns, most of
them retired teachers,
convalesced or passed, where I’d volunteered during study hall changing bed pans and
pouring Hawaiian Punch into paper cups,
they hadn’t renovated the spired building I’d entered day after day, my plaid jumper
becoming more ironic with each curve. How selfish it is after you leave a place to doubt that it could function without you. That it all goes on was enough to make me crack, facing the grotto
I’d stood around with my class, a hundred of us, in Easter white in another season,
singing as the May queen and her court offered flowers to the stone Virgin or just
pretending to sing.
On the other side of praise / it’s time to chop down the tall tree in the ear— / enough enough with the starlit promontories—/ a nervous condition traces itself/ in lightning in the clouds, / a little requiem rattles among Coke cans / and old vegetable tins