octopus books


Brandon Shimoda

80 available
isbn: 9781935639527
100 pages

Brandon Shimoda

Brandon Shimoda is the author of several books of poetry, including O Bon (Litmus Press, 2011), Portuguese (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2013), and Evening Oracle (Letter Machine Editions, 2015), which won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also the co-editor, with Thom Donovan, of To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader (Nightboat Books, 2014). Born in California, he lives presently nowhere.


praise for Portuguese

It’s as if the thoughts of these artists and the voyeuristic snatches from Shimoda’s bus rides are collected in a bucket, and from it the poems pour: psychedelic, expansive bursts of imagery and lyricism, punctuated with philosophical language and quandaries about art and poetry. As the keeper of this surreal liquid, Shimoda has an extraterrestrial kind of presence.

Daniel Moysaenko, BOMB Magazine

excerpt from Portuguese

Because it has been days it has been years
Of new space new space being water
Organisms feel it work it
Moist growths of a new head space conjunctions of a skull
Are here—they are right here
We look at skulls and feel unsettled—skulls are right here
Anything we don’t need to step outside ourselves to be in the company of
Unsettles us from the thing we have left
The thing we are looking at
Smoke over a field
I wrote a book with a white cover it went to the hill of the poisonous trees
Children were following my retarded stepbrother around the fields
He very shallowly appreciated them following him I observed
And felt to be worse than outright disgust
Here’s a broom—Pick it up Drag it across your hands and feet
He should have given at least
A corner of the truth then
Sat me down and asked if I loved him
I am the broom I said I do not know you pulling your pants down
Will not help me to know you—He asked me
To explain a poem I had written about my father
He had found fussing in my father’s sock drawer
For snacks—I gazed through his eyes to the gleam
Of the metal plate in his head, said simply
Read the poem but then realized
His defect—he did not believe in a world outside of the world of the present
Moment and therefore in the possibility of being
In two places simultaneously not only
Did he not but he barely
Possessed the courage to believe
In the world of the present moment
Therefore in the possibility of being in even one therefore in anything
Imagination is driven by
An an-heroic sliver—not always light always light
An acid element suffocating that which is other than
Precisely what is and barely even
That therefore everything real
In its first however fatal dimension—acid element forged
By hand to fit
As wide as possible the head, and in that sense I actually loved him
Though I wanted to put him
Wholesale into a blender and drink him
On the day my father and mother married—August 25, 1972
Grindelwald, Switzerland, the Alps they celebrated
With a tin of anchovies and a bottle of orange soft drink
On a hill overlooking the village, that is
The world I believe in the world I replicate in the world that is passing
Where also a Cambodian princess
Mauled by a dog is falling eternally in love with my retarded stepbrother
I convinced her to she was falling in love with me
I did not need her love then I did not need love then
Does a hermaphrodite have eyes? A hermaphrodite looks back on itself
To perceive an occasion for proper vengeance
Girl Man drink more eat more grass
Rationalize poetry by embodying it before me—innocent and thirsty
Did I go there? I was afraid they were all hermaphrodites I was
The minority LAP ACTION
I can still feel terror as real and humiliating
But to eat more anchovies drink more orange soft drink
Start writing another book with another white cover
There are eight million then there are six
It is not a matter of how many go but how many remain
To care for the field
Rake the fragments of bone
Keep the skulls from falling over