The Map (audio only)
Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.
Does exile begin at birth? I lived beside a wide river
For so long I stopped hearing it.
As when a glass shatters during an argument,
And we are secretly thrilled. . . . We wanted it to break.
Always something missing now in the cry of one bird,
Its wings flared against the wood.
Still, everything that is singular has a name:
Stone, song, trembling, waist, & snow. I remember how
My old psychiatrist would pinch his nose between
A thumb & forefinger, look up at me & sigh.
The brow of a horse in that moment when The horse is drinking water so deeply from a trough It seems to inhale the water, is holy. I refuse to explain. When the horse had gone the water in the trough, All through the empty summer, Went on reflecting clouds & stars. The horse cropping grass in a field, And the fly buzzing around its eyes, are more real Than the mist in one corner of the field. Or the angel hidden in the mist, for that matter. Members of the Committee on the Ineffable, Let me illustrate this with a story, & ask you all To rest your heads on the table, cus
1. Looking into the eyes of Gerard de Nerval You notice the giant sea crabs rising. Which is what happens When you look into the eyes of Gerard de Nerval, Always the same thing: the giant sea crabs, The claws in their vague red holsters Moving around, a little doubtfully. 2. But looking into the eyes of Pierre Reverdy Is like throwing the editorial page Out into the rain And then riding alone on the subway. Also, it is like avoiding your father. You are hiding and he looks for you Under each vine; he is coming nearer And nearer.