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Traces by Robert Balun


"Each day I am the first of many weird encounters," begins Robert Balun's Traces, a sentiment as syllogistic as it is spooky. What follows is a lateral navigation through modes both syntactical and elemental. Where is meaning imprinted in the universe? Can the signifier every truly conjure the signified? Can it be reversed? Can it obliterate? Is living transitive or intransitive? Balun's words do not answer these questions but further extrapolate them, opening his language like an almanac. Traces propels the reader through its pages as though the reader, too, were nothing more than the sum of its symbols, malleable to both worlds, mineral and lexical, leaving us all pensively pondering "will I remember I am the water when I drink from it."
Robert Balun is an adjunct at The City College of New York, where he teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. His first collection of poems, Acid Western, will be published by The Operating System in 2020. His poems have recently appeared in Reality Beach, Powder Keg, TAGVVERK, Tammy, Prelude, Barrow Street, Apogee, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others.