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By David James "DJ" Savarese

The ear that hears the cardinal
hears in red;

the eye that spots the salmon
sees in wet.

My senses always fall in love:
they spin, swoon;

they lose themselves in one
another’s arms.

Your senses live alone
like bachelors,

like bitter, slanted rhymes whose
marriage is a sham.

They greet the world the way accountants
greet their books.

I tire of such mastery. And yet, my senses
often fail

to let me do the simplest things,
like walk outside.

Invariably, the sun invades
my ears

and terrifies my feet—the angular
assault of Heaven’s

heavy-metal chords.
I cannot hear

to see, cannot see to move.
And so I cling,

As on a listing ship at night,
to the stair-rail.



Listen as Marco Wilkinson reads "Swoon" by David James "DJ" Savarese.

Added: Thursday, July 7, 2022  /  Used with permission. Originally published in Seneca Review Volume 27 No 1 (Spring 2017) and the documentary film DEEJ: Inclusion Shouldn't Be a Lottery (2017).
David James “DJ” Savarese
Photo by Pamela Harvey.

David James “DJ” Savarese is an artful activist, public scholar, and teacher. Co-producer, narrator, and poet of the Peabody award-winning documentary Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery, he’s a co-author of  Studies in Brotherly Love (PromptPress, 2021) and the author of A Doorknob for the Eye (2017). His poems have appeared in The Red Wheelbarrow, Seneca Review, Bellingham Review, Nine Mile Magazine, Stone Canoe, Prospect, wordgatherings, and The Art of Autism. His lyric essay “Passive Plants”, published in the Iowa Review, was a Pushcart Prize nominee and a notable essay in Best American Essays (2018). He co-teaches inclusive, multi-generational, global poetry writing classes, presents nationally and internationally on a range of topics, and directs the Lives-in-Progress Collective at the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports. Learn more at DJ's website.

Other poems by this author