August 19, 2009

i've been out on my own,
i've been doing real fine.
i watch you wreck what you can it's crazy cause..
it seems you're out of your mind

Lisa Yuskavage, Painted Things, 2006

Fire Left by Travellers
-- by Frank Stanford

Before in our lives we have all gone down
to some river or another
and spoken with those who don't often speak
we tell them about the black fumes of our dreams
roots smouldering and asleep
and the hammer hanging on the branch
and they go on sinking long nails
into their boat's damaged wood
they make a harbor out of anything
that will hold a rope for a night
they sit on buckets
near the water's circular ruins
eating fish cooked in wine
one has a belly and keeps young ducks under his shirt
one wears a beautiful scarf
he claims the moon is a liar
under the patch over his left eye
briars take over their boots
which took journeys without walking
half under water there's a chimney
driftwood and broken oars and lost lures
floating in the flue
the current drawing them up the fireplace like smoke
there it stands alone like a stone tree
the house having burned
before the river rose
before I walked down these levees
my father's long graves
which he raised like a pharaoh
I kept coming down them
holding both arms before me like a sleepwalker
holding out my hands
trying to warm them on campfires long gone
sod might as well have been snow
I looked down the steep slope of those days
a skier getting ready for a jump
I had things to say

the abandoned valley
--- by jack gilbert

can you understand being alone for so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the well
so you could feel something down there
tug at the other end of the rope?

The Beautiful American Word, Sure
-- by Delmore Schwartz

The beautiful American word, Sure,
As I have come into a room, and touch
The lamp's button, and the light blooms with such
Certainty where the darkness loomed before,

As I care for what I do not know, and care
Knowing for little she might not have been,
And for how little she would be unseen,
The intercourse of lives miraculous and dear.

Where the light is, and each thing clear,
separate from all others, standing in its place,
I drink the time and touch whatever's near,

And hope for day when the whole world has that face:
For what assures her present every year?
In dark accidents the mind's sufficient grace.


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