Todd Swift


So, Five

sometimes I walk in locations
not the moment but rendered
available due to what zigzags
in the bucket seat, memory
so now here is Moscow

The State Art Gallery, Tretyakov
each room I go into
is where you’d be surprised
a black canvas today, altering
how I once saw snowing

hitherto neglected, a Japanese city
is begun in these strollings
wide avenues down to volcano
and aquarium, ferry to island
where you bask in hot

water and reflect on meditation
in each node or altercation
silence recalls the madman parked
hooting claims to kingdoms scarily
so almost I shut windows

to keep the silence contained
the irrational exuberance of voices
withdrawn; banks in Kagoshima are
few and far between, recall
so spent most time starving

when not staring at squid
the faces of declined Stalin
tentacles playing upon reinforced glass
the Russian painting cherry blossoms
train to Tokyo black art



Todd Swift is the author of three poetry collections, Budavox, Café Alibi and Rue du Regard. He is an editor of many poetry anthologies, including 100 Poets Against The War, Future Welcome and Babylon Burning. He compiled the recent audio CD Life Lines: Poets for Oxfam. He has been poetry editor of online magazine Nthposition since 2002 (, and Oxfam GB Poet In Residence since 2004. His poems have been anthologized in Open Field (Persea Books, NYC, 2005) and The New Canon (Véhicule, Montreal, 2005). His poems have recently appeared in Cordite, The Guardian, Jacket, London Magazine, The Manhattan Review, New American Writing and Poetry Review. He lives in London, UK, where he works as a reviewer and Core Tutor for The Poetry School. His latest publication is Natural Curve, a pamphlet of poems from Rubicon Press, Alberta.