In Autumn

When within ourselves in autumn we feel the autumn
I become very still, a kind of singing, and try to move
like all things green, in one direction, when within ourselves
the autumn moves, thickening like honey, that light we smear
on faces and hands, then touch the far within one another,
something like autumn, and I think when those who knew
the dead, when they fall asleep, then what, then what in autumn
when I always feel I’m writing in red pencil on a piece
of paper growing in thickness the way a pumpkin does,
traveling at fantastic speed toward orange, toward rot, when
in autumn I remember that we are cold-smitten as I continue
smearing red on this precipice, this ledge of paper over which
I lean, trying to touch those I love, their bodies rusting
as I keep writing, sketching their red hands, faces lusting for green.
 

More by Mark Irwin

My Father's Hats


   Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
   on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
   the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
   through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp earth was
   his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
   crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
   held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
   was that of a clove in the godsome
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous
   sleep, I stand on this canyon floor
and watch light slowly close
   on water I'm not sure is there.

Poof!

A shark swims into the bay, swirls, and then rises with the ugly grin of millennia.

A match flame to a cigar, years later a campfire, and long after a house on fire.

Love—to forget language and act on instinct, its indestructible form.

—Something written on a piece of paper after an astonishing event. That paper
found a long time later.

I am, I am, she said, licking a grape Popsicle in July. Make it last, he said right after.

It seemed as though she had leapt toward her own cremation.

A few books shining like the wood of trees. —Ones that I’ve climbed or held.

Voyage

When we could no longer walk or explore, we decided to wear

the maps and would sit talking, pointing to places, sometimes

touching mountains, canyons, deserts on each other’s body,

and that was how we fell in love again, sitting next to

each other in the home that was not our home, writing letters

with crooked words, crooked lines we handed back and forth,

the huge hours and spaces between us growing smaller and smaller.

Related Poems

from “You Are in Nearly Every Future”

The sounds of summer leave
your lungs mid-autumn.
Gulls rebuild the sky.
It’s more or less a spectacle.
With a gauze of dark circles
under your eyes, you watch
the whole world take a rain check.
The clouds overlap until nightfall
and you twiddle your thumbs
at everyone’s mid-life crisis.
The moon blinks inside
out and no one notices.
You do all the talking.
The city lights acting as your voice.