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Four Kings (from the Almost Elvis series) by Landon Nordeman

Paired: 
Landon Nordeman + Joyce Carol Oates

Waiting On Elvis, 1956

This place up in Charlotte called Chuck’s where I
used to waitress and who came in one night
but Elvis and some of his friends before his concert
at the Arena, I was twenty-six married but still
waiting tables and we got to joking around like you
do, and he was fingering the lace edge of my slip
where it showed below my hemline and I hadn’t even
seen it and I slapped at him a little saying, You
sure are the one aren’t you feeling my face burn but
he was the kind of boy even meanness turned sweet in
his mouth.

Smiled at me and said, Yeah honey I guess I sure am.

Joyce Carol Oates



In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re introducing a new series called Paired, which will feature a 20x200 edition alongside a poem selected by a team member, friend, or collector each day in April. Submissions are welcome! Please write us at hello@20x200.com.

Laundry, Bridgehampton by Bastienne Schmidt

Paired: Bastienne Schmidt + Adrienne Rich

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning   

My swirling wants. Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

I want you to see this before I leave:
the experience of repetition as death
the failure of criticism to locate the pain
the poster in the bus that said:
my bleeding is under control.

A red plant in a cemetery of plastic wreaths.

A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those mountains have a meaning
but further than that I could not say.

To do something very common, in my own way.
Adrienne Rich
 
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re introducing a new series called Paired, which will feature a 20x200 edition alongside a poem selected by a team member, friend, or collector each day in April. Submissions are welcome! Please write us at hello@20x200.com.

Untitled #6 by Jessica Bruah

Paired: Jessica Bruah + Sylvia Plath

Lady Lazarus

I have done it again. 
One year in every ten 
I manage it—

A sort of walking miracle, my skin 
Bright as a Nazi lampshade, 
My right foot 

A paperweight, 
My featureless, fine 
Jew linen. 

Peel off the napkin 
O my enemy. 
Do I terrify?—

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? 
The sour breath 
Will vanish in a day. 

Soon, soon the flesh 
The grave cave ate will be 
At home on me 

And I a smiling woman. 
I am only thirty. 
And like the cat I have nine times to die. 

This is Number Three. 
What a trash 
To annihilate each decade. 

What a million filaments. 
The Peanut-crunching crowd 
Shoves in to see 

Them unwrap me hand and foot— 
The big strip tease. 
Gentleman , ladies 

These are my hands 
My knees. 
I may be skin and bone, 

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. 
The first time it happened I was ten. 
It was an accident. 

The second time I meant 
To last it out and not come back at all. 
I rocked shut 

As a seashell. 
They had to call and call 
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. 

Dying 
Is an art, like everything else. 
I do it exceptionally well. 

I do it so it feels like hell. 
I do it so it feels real. 
I guess you could say I’ve a call. 

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell. 
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put. 
It’s the theatrical 

Comeback in broad day 
To the same place, the same face, the same brute 
Amused shout: 

'A miracle!' 
That knocks me out. 
There is a charge 

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge 
For the hearing of my heart—
It really goes. 

And there is a charge, a very large charge 
For a word or a touch 
Or a bit of blood 

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes. 
So, so, Herr Doktor. 
So, Herr Enemy. 

I am your opus, 
I am your valuable, 
The pure gold baby 

That melts to a shriek. 
I turn and burn. 
Do not think I underestimate your great concern. 

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir. 
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—

A cake of soap, 
A wedding ring, 
A gold filling. 

Herr God, Herr Lucifer 
Beware 
Beware. 

Out of the ash 
I rise with my red hair 
And I eat men like air.

Sylvia Plath



In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re introducing a new series called Paired, which will feature a 20x200 edition alongside a poem selected by a team member, friend, or collector each day in April. Submissions are welcome! Please write us at hello@20x200.com. Thank you Lauren Cerand for this selection!

Seventh Avenue Looking South from 35th Street, Manhattan by Berenice Abbott

Paired: Berenice Abbott + Lydia Davis

In the Garment District

A man has been making deliveries in the garment district for years now: every morning he takes the same garments on a moving rack through the streets to a shop and every evening takes them back again to the warehouse. This happens because there is a dispute between the shop and the warehouse which cannot be settled: the shop denies it ever ordered the clothes, which are badly made and of cheap material and by now years out of style; while the warehouse will not take responsibility because the clothes are paid for and of no use to the wholesalers. To the man all this is nothing. They are not his clothes, he gets paid for this work, and anyway he intends to leave the company soon, though the right moment has not yet come.

Lydia Davis


Today’s Paired was suggested by 20x200 collector Andrew Long, who kindly provided some extra context about Lydia Davis when he sent along this pairing:

"Davis’ works are more often referred to as short stories, but they have also been considered poetry and prose poems, and have been included in numerous poetry anthologies and quarterlies over the decades."In the Garment District" appeared in her 1997 book "Almost No Memory," but was apparently first published in the early eighties. (PDF) Ms. Abbott’s photograph shows Manhattan south of the Garment District, but was in fact taken from a building that was firmly within the southern border of the District.”


In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re introducing a new series called Paired, which will feature a 20x200 edition alongside a poem selected by a team member, friend, or collector each day in April. Submissions are welcome! Please write us at hello@20x200.com.

Grounded Iceberg, Arthur Harbor, Anvers Island, Antarctica by Stuart Klipper

Paired: 
Stuart Klipper + Jean Valentine

Icebergs, Ilulissat


In blue-green air & water God
you have come back for us,
to our fiberglass boat.

You have come back for us, & I’m afraid.
(But you never left.)

Great sadness at harms.
But nothing that comes now, after,
can be like before.

Even when the icebergs are gone, and the millions of suns

have burnt themselves out of your arms,

your arms of burnt air,
you are with us
whoever we are then.

Jean Valentine



In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re introducing a new series called Paired, which will feature a 20x200 edition alongside a poem selected by a team member, friend, or collector each day in April. Submissions are welcome! Please write us at hello@20x200.com.