Saturday, April 23, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The boy with his mother in the photo,
the boy with riding boots and a long path behind him
leading to the seashore in fall,
whose legs tangle below the knee his mother's skirts—
wisteria stitched in into twill—he is in some difficulty
now that world is mostly gone. Everyone has a mother, sure.
But does everyone creep into the crook of her arm
as if to live there, does everyone,
arriving home in the afternoons, say voila! l am here!
and from the other room know
her head is full of birds? I am saying know
with certainty. Trailing about each of us
the very possibility of evaporation. Surely not everyone
blooms inside such stillness. Paris can bustle all it wants.
The boy is no longer a photo—I should say
is no longer with his mother in the photo. The legend of the boy,
a man who's had something to say some years running
about the nature of perception
is quiet now. How alarming the empty house,
how nearly debilitating the checkout girl's train
of sable hair. Get up and lick the air—there's no one there
to tell him!—go back with your arms
full of apples. With your arms full of apples
find some reason within reason
to touch her.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
contentment over such givenness as prevailed everywhere one turned.
Since everything had gotten so much worse,
I tried to take in at least some one thing
to make out how we came to where we were,
with the result that, on my walk that morning,
which I take solemnly every day, over toward the creek
that rises beyond the highway then disappears
into the forest behind us, to reemerge
two or three blocks away in tiny cataracts
beside a yellow house with a gazebo,
I resourcefully recollected that the French
for garbage can sounds like a word for a tiny
blue iris a couple might name their daughter after,
so that when I tried to articulate that moment
in my semiyearly letter to my friend Marcel,
who lives near Montbourbier in the Dordogne,
with its otherworldly river and black cliffside,
I could not imagine how I would convey
with any force in his own vivacious tongue
that we had tumbled into the garbage can of history—
nous sommes tombés dans la poubelle de l'histoire
simply would not do—so I wrote instead
how my wife and I welcomed the news that our plan
to come over to search for leases with options to buy
would coincide with the birth of a new grandchild
who might look back on these as times of triumph,
with or without tumbrels rumbling in order to have it.
By michael heffernan
Monday, March 14, 2011
Metz is alive for now, standing in line
at the airport Starbucks in his camo gear
and buzz cut, his beautiful new
camel-colored suede boots. His hands
are thick-veined. The good blood
still flows through, given an extra surge
when he slurps his latte, a fleck of foam
caught on his bottom lip.
I can see into the canal in his right ear,
a narrow darkness spiraling deep inside his head
toward the place of dreaming and fractions,
ponds of quiet thought.
In the sixties my brother left for Vietnam,
a war no one understood, and I hated him for it.
When my boyfriend was drafted I made a vow
to write a letter every day, and then broke it.
I was a girl torn between love and the idea of love.
I burned their letters in the metal trash bin
behind the broken fence. It was the summer of love
and I wore nothing under my cotton vest,
my Mexican skirt.
I see Metz later, outside baggage claim,
hunched over a cigarette, mumbling
into his cell phone. He's more real to me now
than my brother was to me then, his big eyes
darting from car to car as they pass.
I watch him breathe into his hands.
I don't believe in anything anymore:
god, country, money or love.
All that matters to me now
is his life, the body so perfectly made,
mysterious in its workings, its oiled
and moving parts, the whole of him
standing up and raising one arm
to hail a bus, his legs pulling him forward,
all muscle and sinew and living gristle,
the countless bones of his foot trapped in his boot,
stepping off the red curb.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Around each word we're hearing,
there spins an original flame;
the unborn wait in a circle of commas,
upright robins wheel to Wheeler
& termites with arms in their heads
dig under the chairs—
It is impossible to describe the world;
that's why you get so sleepy listening to poetry.
The writer skates but spring takes
the gold (ooo don't let her fall in sequins)—dusk
buzzes in its meaning kit...
maybe you drank too much but that's not it:
the sexy cadence puzzled everyone.
You were drawn to poetry by something nothing
satisfies but poetry: boundless sensation,
an abstract tone—
then one day, two normal words
had made you weep: Unreal...City.... Not
mostly; mostly they didn't make you weep, but still:
Unreal... (then that big pause:)...
City.... Look at that slumped
italic guy over there, waiting to be in a stanza:
Sat low our lord of literature
for he was very tired—
Outside the room, the spell ends,
the vowel of an owl/the owl of a vowel
dives onto a warm body, the ruined gardens
of the state, tended by the great dead—
You were called by a silence you can't understand.
You're grown up now. You can read all night
if you want in the bride's bed—