a synonym for living

the book of paid rooms, volumes 1, 2, and 3 in the california journal of poetics 

some notes on shadows in boaat 

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twostones

my poem in the current issue of mid-american review. another one that will be in my book meet me here at dawn… 

From an Atlas of the Difficult World

 

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains’ enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
hand
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

–Adrienne Rich, from An Atlas of the Difficult World

passages

song: dear-to-me thinker singer musician writer maker cass mccombs has a new album – MANGY LOVE – coming out tomorrow : here. the new york times calls him beckett as a cranky singer-songwriter which is silly / endearing / accurate. cass has many more articulations of creative light than the world has seen yet. i’ll stay mum for now, but hope soon i can tell you about some more mediums his work will appear in. in the meantime, enjoy the album.

act: i dance a lot these days, & have somehow despite total shyness come to speak to those i dance with, which turns out to be a joy. my friend gregory barnett is a beautiful dancer and maker and here is a blog he did for the getty about crafting costumes for the dance artist taisha paggett, on the occasion of her performance mountain, fire, holding still.

word: the poet max ritvo has passed after a long struggle with cancer. i didn’t know him, but i know that he was 25, and used his time brilliantly. i recommend taking some time to yourself with the body of work he’s left.

 

take care of one another. be honest. sing, make, dance, speak.

 

there is no glossary not for this

bluedrape.georgeshaw——by the artist george shaw

 2 poems from my forthcoming book MEET ME HERE AT DAWN in Public Pool 

geologicatlasofthemoon1965– from a geological atlas of the moon, 1965

 

every man should pull a boat over a mountain once in his life

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& if

hand.featherwater.nick.book

1 self-portrait, 1 moving gift, 1 song

here

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phillips.poem

 

je sais que tu ne repondras pas

excursionintophilosophy

in his blurb for my forthcoming book, Meet Me Here At Dawn, Terrance Hayes relates my work to this Edward Hopper painting, “Excursion Into Philosophy.” Stay tuned.