Micro-minutes on Your Way to Work
Days are unusual. The owl sends out 5 zeroes from the pines plus one small silver nothing. Where do they float? Maybe out to sea, where jellyfish are aging left & right. They have some nerve. Today, no new wars, probably. No big button. The owl could be your scholar of trapped light or Walter Benjamin who writes a storm blows in from paradise. Thinking through these things each week, you cross the bridge: gold coils, fog, feelings… syllables also can grow younger like those jellyfish. You bring your quilt of questions in the car. At work, you’ll have to be patient at the risky enterprise of talking to other people; so little progress in this since the Pleistocene. Mostly, though, you’re calm when traveling: silver nothing, moving right & left; day releasing the caged stars; one thought mixed with no-thought, packed with light… for MK
Copyright © 2018 by Brenda Hillman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 2, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I’ve been working on and off for about a decade with a procedural form inspired by a Jena Osman essay; the form is six words per line, twenty-four lines. (I try to be strict but sometimes give or take a word or two and consider hyphenated words to be one.) I have used it for some ecopoetic pieces and also for pieces about odd emotions. The challenge is to put a lot of existence in a short space, which is what interests me in poetry in general. This poem originated at dawn when I heard an owl in a Berkeley treetop; I was thinking about the commute of a friend who has to do a lot of work in the public sphere. I often think about non-human energy and life that goes in and out of consciousness simultaneously with historical events. The poem also refers to Walter Benjamin’s ideas about history as well as a sense that thought and light are both something and nothing.”
Date Published: 2018-05-02
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/micro-minutes-your-way-work