John Most

John Most

John Most is a poet. He is the author of numerous books. His latest book of poems is What Thoughts (2015).

John attended the University of Virginia before earning his PhD from the European Graduate School. He has taught at the European Graduate School and Virginia Commonwealth University.

About his work, the playwright and poet Mac Wellman has written, “John Most’s work reminds me of two German poets I admire greatly: Friedrich Holderlin: “If people were not what would become of serenity.”; and Paul Celan: “Configuring hours / Confuse a crazy / Silent toad.” The writing is unusually quiet and thoughtful–especially for an American poet of our benighted time.”



water waters a body of water in the
distance umbrella slanted a vision
imperfect descends blocking the moment
dishonest light ribbons only for
movement sensing does the formation of
memory formations form this beach
nowhere  back and forth keeping track of
tracking the lines little then a room kinetic
in a room hotel in a room unvexed
undecidedly wishing wishes to be
retracted peeling flecks clear a view dear
onto view window onto view giant
transports all into a slipping slippery
sense of things transient like liking skips
of shells broken   losing the lines little in
mind sand   addressing others’ matters
gated by motions rippled   returning
having decided   only to find finding a
memory’s map to be a mistake recovered
pinning down a fear separating possible
scenarios from a single occurrence by
entering the chaos   another light lights
nothing stumbling into the incorrect
group  the returning water returns
procedures out now restored are not the
same tracking the keeping track of tracking
the lines little


look closely, clarity shows its
haziness–the milky
sets of sad stars send a white light

let’s forget the weakness
of our nature     its inherent ache–

if perfection is absurd, why
is tragedy common?


The tormenting silence
Of faces, facades, second-hand clothing–

A slobbering fountain
And night like a purple cloth.

If you have beauty or none,
In facing the end
Turn an earth clod,
Snaring, concealing, tricking–

What’s true is collapsed or unknown.
In darkness, note everything’s the same.

With eyes like vacant lots,
Be aware: there’s an undiscovered exit.


pen strikes become
you’d never ask the night,
breathless. ‘how do
   you ever know if cool-
to-the-touch London is
   London, if separation
is yellow thread
or finality?’

to resume means
passengers circle
     their destination.

it’s diving into a pond,
green algae pulled from
the black water. as
lilies are flowers,

a postcard she sent
from Venice falls from
the pages.

Poetry in this post: © John Most
Published with the permission of John Most