October 22, 2004

I am tired, I am weary I could sleep for a thousand years

Three Poems by Denis Johnson:

The Heavens

From mind to mind
I am acquainted with the struggles
of these stars. The very same
chemistry wages itself minutely
in my person.
It is all one intolerable war.
I don't care if we're fugitives,
we are ceaselessly exalted, rising
like the drowned out of our shirts...

Retirement
i would like to be just an old man with my gin
retiring even from these leaves into
my big, gradual silence beyond the wood
and it will be good,
wife, because i have pointed to you,
and you have become real. within

this darker stillness my eyes grow too wide.
it must be that seeing you in the trees
becoming softer than i ever dreamed
has made it all seem
a multitude of nonsense, all the seas,
the planets, all i wrote, i lied,

i swear to you i lied, becoming old and so
very drunk, when i did not lie to you.

Passengers

The world will burst like an intestine in the sun,
the dark turn to granite and the granite to a name,
but there will always be somebody riding the bus
through these intersections strewn with broken glass
among speechless women beating their little ones,
always a slow alphabet of rain
speaking of drifting and perishing to the air,
always these definite jails of light in the sky
at the wedding of this clarity and this storm
and a woman's turning -- her languid flight of hair
traveling through frame after frame of memory
where the past turns, its face sparking like emery,
to open its grace and incredible harm
over my life, and I will never die.

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