mark j. mitchell


after Picasso

Beside a blue picture—posed, insolent
and idle—stiff as a forgotten god—
a boy waits for no one, for risen ghosts.
His stillness threatens artful violence.
Rolling a cold pipe on his palms, he nods
to himself—his gaze doesn’t recognize
loose strangers. He taps coded resentment
on the stone bench—his cold count’s always odd—
He only comes in on the days he knows
it will be empty. This picture’s his prize
in a contest you can’t enter—the room—
echoing with silence—forces his eyes
to look at what was stolen from his tomb.


mark j. mitchell (he/him/his) was born in chicago and grew up in southern california. his latest poetry collection, roshi san francisco, was just published by norfolk publishing. starting from tu fu was recently published by encircle publications. he has published two novels, three chapbooks, and two full length collections so far. his first chapbook won the negative capability award. he is very fond of baseball, louis aragon, miles davis, kafka and dante. he lives in san francisco with his wife, activist and documentarian joan juster, where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed.