James Nikopoulos

James Nikopoulos

James Nikopoulos – associate professor at Nazarbayev University and the author of The Stability of Laughter. In addition to his academic work, James poetry and creative nonfiction has appeared in a variety of places, including CityMetric, The Awl, Eidolon, Eunoia Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Hunter among Prey

a trip of three
steps down the palate
to tap
at three
on the teeth.

I can only be sure she’s got me
when her name begins
in my lungs
and rolls down my tongue
like Agamemnon’s corpse
crossing my teeth
along a crimsoned carpet.


I carve death with the scythe of my profile.
My snakes like liars announce me in hisses
and the hisses dance like jelly on gilded dishes.
I condemn like God with no patience for motives
and no time for trial.

I grin mercy in the hips of my profile.
My face is faceless since death is endless.
Who has survived my beauty’s magnificence?
You then cannot accuse me of motives.
A face be faceless
if its beauty be deathless.

So be like the heroes before their mirrors
and tempt me with your words;
I am the face upon which your lies have merged

All death is deathless if its face go unobserved.


              “Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi”
                        – Cesare Pavese

When death comes it will have your eyes.
It will have my voice.
It will smell of nothing.

In that order.

I figure it must work the way love does

in the air when you’re stalking it,
yourself when you’re losing it,
everywhere, when it’s gone.

The Calendar Requiem

If not
winter be a siren season
              summer her Odysseus greed
If so
spring unlike autumn
              be a death that bleeds in each

If winter but not spring then let summer fall
              and fall deeply
              to where the shoots show green

Unlike a tomorrow,
a year wrinkles as you watch.

Poetry in this post: © James Nikopoulos
Published with the permission of James Nikopoulos