Among restless cosmopolitans and enigmatic wanderers, he tries to sort the real from the illusory and to protect the latter from the former, from a shining new voice in literary fiction, a young poet seeks his lost and damaged sister in the cities of old Europe, Cotler takes the reader on an American odyssey of innocence abroad, through beauty, truth, and the danger our imaginations face in a culture of high-speed popular media.
T. Zachary Cotler's poems have recently appeared in Poetry, the Wolf, The Frogmore Papers, The Paris Review, Narrative, Republic of Letters, and other journals. A founding editor of The Winter Anthology, Cotler lives in Los Angeles.
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A woman walks between us, rudely, swiftly, close enough for me to smell her perfume, fully synthetic, a white, urban scent, no botanical referent. I step through this chemical ice to you. “If I ask the right questions, what happens?” “Is that your this city question?” “Yes.” “Your sad will go away,” you say, and eye-contact becomes unbearable for me. Like Pascal’s wager. Am I to believe you? Certainly it will not happen if I don’t. “You know what that means?” I say. “Do you mean that? I mean, do you know what that would mean?”
At Pamplona-Iruñea station, I shake you by the arms to wake you, take the blanket off you, and find myself faintly disturbed to see (a hint of betrayal, of whom by whom? absurd, but difficult to shake out of my head) the complete poems of Shelley tightly pressed between your thighs. I shake my head, as if there still is water in my ear, though it is language, now I know, not water.