July 18, 2007

Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all


Alena "Scooter" Rudolph, Untitled

Against Writing about Children
-- Erin Belieu

When I think of the many people
who privately despise children,
I can't say I'm completely shocked,

having been one. I was not
exceptional, uncomfortable as that is
to admit, and most children are not

exceptional. The particulars of
cruelty, sizes Large and X-Large,
memory gnawing it like

a fat dog, are ordinary: Mean Miss
Smigelsky from the sixth grade;
the orthodontist who

slapped you for crying out. Children
frighten us, other people's and
our own. They reflect

the virused figures in which failure
began. We feel accosted by their
vulnerable natures. Each child turns

into a problematic ocean, a mirrored
body growing denser and more
difficult to navigate until

sunlight merely bounces
off the surface. They become impossible
to sound. Like us, but even weaker.


The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart
-- Jack Gilbert

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.


The Reductions
-- Rebecca Wolff

Let's go out and buy something. In the sun.

No, let's stay home and make something, the sun floods the room. It
could be green, on paper. It could be money. That's the way to create
new matter.

That's how I detach boats from moorings -- my boat, my mooring -- the
harbor shallow at low tide.

the skiff propelled over buffeting sand flats on

sheer
sonic puissance.


* In Praise of William Morris, a new poem by Ed Sanders.

2 Comments:

Blogger Travis said...

i think she means, "puissance". good poem regardless...

1:14 PM  
Blogger hackmuth said...

Yup. a late night type in typo. thanks for catching.

1:56 PM  

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