Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Roland Barthes
By Carol Ann Davis

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

check up

self-exam (my body is a cage)

Do this: take two fingers, push them into
the spot behind your ear, the spot

your skull drops off

into that valley of muscle
& nerve-this is the muscle that holds up

the skull, that nods the dumb bone
this way & that

when you think you under-
stand, when you think you get it-press deeper

into the gristle, find that little bundle of
nerves-the nerves

that make you blink at day-

light, that make your tongue slide in &
out when you think you're in

love, when you think you need a drink, touch
that spot as if you had an itch
as if it were a button, as if you were

an elevator, close your eyes &
listen, please, close
your eyes-can you hear it? We think our souls live

in boxes, we think someone sits behind our eyes,
lording from his little throne, steering the fork to

the mouth, the mouth to the tit, we think hungry
children live in our bellies, clutching their empty

bowls as the food rains
down, we sometimes think we are those

hungry children, we think
we can think anything & it won't

matter, we think we can think cut out her tongue,
then ask her to sing

By Nick Flynn
from the captain asks for a show of hands

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Looking again and revising is what I'm about
this month. That's the work: to return again
and again and look and shape and rearrange
add subtract add back take away multiply
I've a plan and a list and folders so it's
happening it's spring and the typewriter
above is from Shakespeare & Co Paris
a little confessional of revision where
I'll go in my mind to finish what's been started.