* excerpt from The Divorce Suite!

Divorce Suite pic IG

Just a quick post to follow up on the release of my latest chapbook, The Divorce Suite, published by Red Bird Chapbooks!

I’m happy to report that I received my copies. Included in one copy was this guy:

Divorce Suite bird

I was really stoked to get the first in the print one of 100!

I also wanted to follow up with an excerpt from the book. Here’s one of the short lyrics that precedes the title poem. A couple of different mythologies get interwoven into the narrative of the collection. Here, I take an indirect approach to Lethe, the river of forgetfulness.

Lethe – José Angel Araguz

My face and neck dripping
with water, I stood before
the bathroom mirror in
a convenience store, hoping
to wash away the scent
of this other woman
I did not want found out,
not until I knew
just what she was to me,
what story to put her in
for the wife I’d yet to leave,
for the wife I felt I couldn’t,
not until I traced
the other’s scent around
my skin, to distinguish,
to make sure – the water
hit, the water cleared,
the water left me
the reflection of
a man smiling,
forgetting in a second
what it was I tried
to hide, and why hide it,
who would drive me to
these waters, and what man
had I been, so wrongfully,
ruinously been,
I laughed at him now,
a different man
behind the eyes
crowned by stray hair,
locked and gleaming
against my skin,
inky letters I knew
I’d have to learn to read.


Copies are still available for purchase from Red Bird Chapbooks!

Feel free to share which number you get in the comments.

See you Friday!


4 responses to “* excerpt from The Divorce Suite!”

    1. Eek! Thank you for sharing, Laura!
      And for snagging a copy 🙂

  1. if this really is a taste of the whole book’s tone, this is very different to your usual poems, which though personal, always seem to take a step back from being candid, their finer intimacies nuanced with an imagery that is ambivalent but always elevated, almost sacerdotal. but in this poem. this reveals such a great deal of a very intimate & tender matter. what brought this change of approach, or have you always wrote this sort of poem & i just never read one until now? i feel i have met a very different Jose Angel Araguz.

    1. I would say more than anything that there is a range that exists in my work from, as you thoughtfully term it, the sacerdotal to the raw, and that the individual poem or project dictates the approach. In this particular chapbook, the subject matter necessarily asks me to engage directly with the narrative of the divorce I went through. Yet there are poems in the same chapbook, like “Of Longing” (which I share below), in which I work more in the mode you describe. I go, ultimately, where the poems need me to go. Five of the poems, including the title sequence, from this chapbook are in my next book, Small Fires, a manuscript whose poems do more of an exploration of this range between sacerdotal and raw (love the terms our correspondence has us lucked upon!). As always, I appreciate your insight and consideration, my friend. Enjoy the poem below! Abrazos, José

      Of Longing – José Angel Araguz

      for C.K. Williams

      The poet begins to talk
      about the guitar, moves
      his hands in a way I recognize
      I often do when talking,
      like he is, of longing
      to play again, of passing
      hands around a body
      clutched and cradled for
      the song it gives. We give
      our hands, the notes keep
      passing. We are like a man
      who grasps after water,
      and watches as it leaves,
      each of us a hand
      closing on itself

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