Clear — the senses bright — sitting in the black chair — Rocker —
the white walls reflecting the color of clouds
moving over the sun. Intimacies! The rooms
not important — but like divisions of all space
of all hideousness and beauty. I hear
the music of myself and write it down
for no one to read. I pass fantasies as they
sing to me with Circe-Voices. I visit
among the peoples of myself and know all
I need to know.
I KNOW EVERYTHING! I PASS INTO THE ROOM
there is a golden bed radiating all light
the air is full of silver hangings and sheathes
I smile to myself. I know
all that there is to know. I see all there
is to feel. I am friendly with the ache
in my belly. The answer
to love is my voice. There is no Time!
No answers. The answer to feeling is my feeling.
The answer to joy is joy without feeling.
The room is a multicolored cherub
of air and bright colors. The pain in my stomach
is warm and tender. I am smiling. The pain
is many pointed, without anguish.
Light changes the room from yellows to violet!
The dark brown space behind the door is precious
intimate, silent and still. The birthplace
of Brahms. I know
all that I need to know. There is no hurry.
I read the meanings of scratched walls and cracked ceilings.
I am separate. I close my eyes in divinity and pain.
I blink in solemnity and unsolemn joy.
I smile at myself in my movements. Walking
I step higher in carefulness. I fill
space with myself. I see the secret and distinct
patterns of smoke from my mouth
I am without care part of all. Distinct.
I am separate from gloom and beauty. I see all.
From Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems, published by University of California. Copyright © 2011 by Michael McClure. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
I’d smoke cigars all day and into the night
while I wrote and wrote without
any hope or slightest assurance
that anything I’d written actually mattered
or rose to a standard of literary merit.
I’d languish in the smoke that did me in
and call it the cloud of my unknowing,
so sweet in its taste, such as it was,
of Cuban soil. That would be paradise
in heaven that’s so overrated as endless
bliss it kills to imagine as a place for living
forever, no less, with nothing to do
or lips to kiss. I’d curse, therefore,
with the best of them—the legion
of Saved—as I sharpened my pencils
and smoked my Punches in the simple room
that I’d be given with a desk for writing
and bed for remembering the things
I’d forgotten. And reading too, I almost
forgot. I’d read and read since I’d be done
with sleeping, but dreaming, no, still dreaming
a lot. I’d live to live again with moments
of dying to see how “lucky” I was. I’d use
my body as an eidolon with invisible wings
that fluttered in the void as if it were air
and hummed in the dark in which I could see.
Copyright © 2015 by Chard deNiord. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 27, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
You are standing in the minefield again.
Someone who is dead now
told you it is where you will learn
to dance. Snow on your lips like a salted
cut, you leap between your deaths, black as god’s
periods. Your arms cleaving little wounds
in the wind. You are something made. Then made
to survive, which means you are somebody’s
son. Which means if you open your eyes, you’ll be back
in that house, beneath a blanket printed with yellow sailboats.
Your mother’s boyfriend, his bald head ringed with red
hair, like a planet on fire, kneeling
by your bed again. Air of whiskey & crushed
Oreos. Snow falling through the window: ash returned
from a failed fable. His spilled-ink hand
on your chest. & you keep dancing inside the minefield—
motionless. The curtains fluttering. Honeyed light
beneath the door. His breath. His wet blue face: earth
spinning in no one’s orbit. & you want someone to say Hey…Hey
I think your dancing is gorgeous. A little waltz to die for,
darling. You want someone to say all this
is long ago. That one night, very soon, you’ll pack a bag
with your favorite paperback & your mother’s .45,
that the surest shelter was always the thoughts
above your head. That it’s fair—it has to be—
how our hands hurt us, then give us
the world. How you can love the world
until there’s nothing left to love
but yourself. Then you can stop.
Then you can walk away—back into the fog
-walled minefield, where the vein in your neck adores you
to zero. You can walk away. You can be nothing
& still breathing. Believe me.
Copyright © 2015 by Ocean Vuong. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 2, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets