Punchline by Nick Courtright

Nick Courtright is the author of Punchline, a National Poetry Series finalist Boston Review editor Timothy Donnelly calls “nothing short of a knockout.” His work has appeared in journals such as The Southern Review, Boston Review, Kenyon Review Online, The Iowa Review, and many others, and a chapbook, Elegy for the Builder’s Wife, is available from Blue Hour Press. He’s Interviews Editor of the Austinist, an arts and culture website based in Austin, Texas, where he teaches English, Humanities, and Philosophy, and lives with his wife, Michelle, and son, William. Feel free to find him at nickcourtright.com.

Punchline is available for purchase direct from author here, and can also be purchased on Amazon.

What I Have To Say To You

We are bound to this earth, and no matter how
we try to leave

we still are bound.

No rocketship spiraling into the thin openness of time

changes that, no bootstrap shenanigans

hightailing their rubberpeeling
path into history

where the future rests on an old desk

like an apple.

One apple who is just that,

core, seeds, stem, meat, skin, in many way the apple
is us
causing the fall of us

from the ideal and into this:

day, night, awake, asleep, dead, alive, alive, alive, alive.

Where Am I Going, What Have I Been

When I was young
I said I did not care

what became of my body but I wanted

the monument honoring me
to be massive. And now that I am older

maybe the truth is that I wish
for the monument to remain, but the body as well.

I would like to know
where it is, and to have it taken care of

because, Dark Lord of the Unanswered,

it is my future, the one I can count on most,

this cathedral of parts.

Father Whitman made a point

to note how we shall become

and the grass shall become us. In other words,

with enough time

grass to grass, stone to stone, myth to myth.


The room is full of flowers,

the flowers are on the wallpaper,

they subsume the walls into flowerness,

there is a person watching the flowers,

I watch the flowers.

Tomorrow, thank you for existing.

So many people are waiting in line, so many people

for all eternity are waiting,

so many people.

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