Funny Loss of Face
Late in the last of the sun all over the wall
across the lot the bordello larks on the ivy vine
visit one another’s resting closets
like boys and men in Taiwanese baths:
anyone could be behind that leaf or must he
prefer sleep to sharing sleep, the overcome one,
flustering, not just anyone, retorts
and have him know, special again only once
the turnkey checks, before the wind top to bottom
as in a movie of itself plays the shuddering
singularity of love, selecting no one
particularly anyway, but all in las peliculas
sit deeper in their popcorn parkas down.
Everyone’s in for the night except
you who had flown all day didn’t want to fall asleep
here I was telling your neck relax your eyes
were going to wake up raw without solution
for lenses, so it was better you find
the little baths they had at home. Why it was
funny I suggested we concoct it from scratch’s hard
to say and whether one of us or which was
good about everything. When you call and
the leaves are brighter red, it’s later, nearer
the sun, and relief is that vibrant.
That you can see already where more doors
were and birds the ropey circuitry
the wall will bare is an occupancy of mine.
From A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014). Copyright @ 2014 Brian Blanchfield. Reprinted by permission of Nightboat Books.
Brian Blanchfield was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1973, and raised in the central Piedmont. He earned a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MFA from Warren Wilson College.
Blanchfield is the author of A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014), which received the 2014 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and was longlisted for the National Book Award. He is also the author of Not Even Then (University of California Press, 2004) and Proxies: Essays Near Knowing (Nightboat Books, 2016), which was named Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly and others.
Laughlin Award judge C. S. Giscombe wrote about Blanchfield’s winning book:
Robert Herrick wrote, “Here we are all, by day; by night we’re hurl’d / By dreams, each one into a several world.” Where Herrick’s several is implicitly separate, Brian Blanchfield’s book examines and contests commonality. That is, A Several World unsettles the world—all and several alike—by reading its associations and memberships and public languages with an unnerving exactingness. And, for all that, it’s a very finely-ranging travelogue, though not in the usual senses: “Consider the milieu durance,” Blanchfield invites as the book sets sail and then responds, in the next line, to his own invitation—“Way out there now.”
About A Several World, John Ashbery wrote, “The oneness of our physical and spiritual life has rarely been conveyed more accurately.”
Blanchfield is the recipient of a Whiting Award and a Howard Foundation Fellowship. He was a poetry editor of Fence and the founder and host of Speedway and Swan Poetry Radio on KXCI in Tucson. He is the guest editor for Poem-a-Day in December 2020, teaches at the University of Idaho and in the Bennington Writing Seminars, and lives in Moscow, Idaho.
A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014)
Not Even Then (University of California Press, 2004)
Proxies (Nightboat Books, 2016)
Date Published: 2014-03-15
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/funny-loss-face