Ralph Angel was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1951. He is the author of Twice Removed (Sarabande Books, 2001), Neither World, which received the 1995 James Laughlin Award, and Anxious Latitudes (1986). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Antioch Review, The American Poetry Review, and many other magazines, and have been collected in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, New American Poets of the 90s, and Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature. His most recent honors include a Pushcart Prize, and awards from the Fulbright Foundation and Poetry magazine. Mr. Angel now lives in Los Angeles and is the Edith R. White Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Redlands, where he teaches creative writing.
I’m standing on 10th Street. I’m not the only one. Buildings rise like foliage and human touch. And so shall dig this cigarette as my last, and rattle trains, and rot the fences of the gardens of my body— or without the harmony of speaking here the many sounds and rhythms that sound a lot like anger when anger’s silent, like a painting, though in the stillness of the paint itself the painter nods or waves or asks for help. I’m not the only one. The pharmacy’s untitled. The stars are there at night. In this Humidity the forlorn singing of the insects clings to anything nailed down. A whole bag of things I’m working through, some set things that I know, like words I know that mean "from one place to another," the word that means "to carry." I’m standing still on 10th Street. I’m not the only one. The dark tastes of salt and oranges. Its eyes wander round and round. I am its thousand windows. I think about the future and the sea. And stay.
From Exceptions and Melancholies: Poems 1986-2006 by Ralph Angel, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. © 2006 by Ralph Angel. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books and the author.