Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


We Address

…a lead pencil held between thumb and forefinger
     of each hand forms a bridge upon which
     two struggling figures, "blood all around"…

I was born in a city between colored wrappers

I was born in a city the color of steam, between two pillars, between pillars and curtains, it was up to me to pull the splinters out of the child's feet

I want to wake up and see you sea green and leaf green, the problem of ripeness. On Monday I wrote it out, grayed out. In that case spirit was terminology

In that case meant all we could do. Very slowly, brighter, difficult and darker. Very bright and slowly. Quietly lions or tigers on a black ground, here the sea is ice, wine is ice

I am in your state now. They compared white with red. So they hung the numbers and colors from upthrusting branches. The problem was light

Our friend arrived unexpectedly dressed in black and taller than we remembered. In the same sky ribbons and scales of bright balance

The problem and its history. Today a rose-colored sky. Greens vary from yellow to brown. Brighter than ink, the supposition tells the omission of an entire color

Which didn't have a musical equivalent. In those days the earth was blue, something to play. A person yearned to be stone

Clearly a lion or sphinx-like shape. The repetition of gesture is reiterated in the movement of ambient light on the windows, curtains, and on the facing wall, the problem

and its green ribbons. The hands almost always meet. Turquoise adrenaline illusions adjacent to memory, to mind. We address

memory, the senses, or pages on a double sheet, classical frontal framing. I want you to wake up now

Credit


From Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988-2008 by Norma Cole. Copyright © 2009 by Norma Cole. Used by permission of City Lights Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Author


Norma Cole

Norma Cole is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018). She lives in San Francisco, California.

Date Published: 2009-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/we-address