Whether by Drowning or by Stars
When everyone was granted their childhood
wish for invisibility, it turned out
to be less erotically useful than we all
had imagined. Since then the first
legitimately wild idea I had I tamed
and named Thom Yorke, after a pony
who’d clomped among the precincts
of my visible youth, refusing
to be rode, my use of the word first
also proving to have been based
on an unfounded sense of possibility
that ill-defines my generation still.
Hidden message: we cannot measure
the corruption of our age
but we can make the heat of it
ever hotter by leaping onto the pyre.
On hearing the kvetching of coyotes
in an August night, my doppelganger
climbs up out of the lake
and into a constellation—when light
and death both want you,
one of them might not get its way.
I’ve given names to a dozen other ideas
and deleted those names
because who could they ever have saved.
Impossibly sweet and recalcitrant
old Thom Yorke though,
best pony anybody knew.
Copyright © 2016 by Mark Bibbins. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 15, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“Was there ever a place that you found—a city block, an empty beach, or where you simply stood next to someone—and later tried to find again but couldn’t figure out how? This poem is trying to figure out how. I guess most of mine are.”
Date Published: 2016-06-15
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/whether-drowning-or-stars