No one sleeps the night through anymore. The wings of endings beat near our faces, drop bones into our dreams….But let us understand that we too will die, each of us; and that in our time of living it matters to reach out and to speak up against the increasing number of state gestures that threaten to become excessive force, surveillance and foreclosures of civil liberties. It matters to ask questions, and to try to conduct serious civil debate about the best routes to sound judgment and care. It matters to take time to listen to what the non-human parts of the planet are saying, as dolphins roll through Venice, and the air clears over Delhi and other industrial centres. It matters to reimagine our entitlements and travel plans, our airplanes and global expansions. What does a sustainable economy look like? Whom should it serve? What would it take to build it, and to engage both human and non-human actors? Why shouldn’t artists and poets study such things? Continue reading Not sailing to Byzantium: on poetry in a time of crisis
Winter is far from done. Still, we are waiting./ For what? Not for whispers or intimations; /not for inspiration, but for accident–/ Continue reading Late January blues
I think about how the night sky never looks quite the same from season to season or if you’ve shifted a few degrees of latitude or longitude. It’s as if, when you travel, someone has rearranged the furniture of the firmament. Continue reading Nightwatches
How can we attend to what we have not noticed? It took a week or ten days for the strangeness of the silence that surrounded us as we walked in the forest to become audible, to realize that it was not what we were hearing but what we were not hearing that was what was important. The realization didn’t come all at once. Continue reading The Silence of the Songbirds
As winter recedes we find bones along the beach. The dog gnaws some of them, but not the coyote skull with its long canines and nasal passages packed with a delicate fretwork of turbinates. Continue reading The quick and the dead
We have to climb to see the sunshine. At 40,000 feet, the clouds seem like a vast snow-blasted landscape–blue shadows of the distance like linking pools of half-frozen water. It is a landscape without trees, just the long arc of the atmosphere curving away in the distance. The sun is bright and hot–it seems as if it has been days since I’ve felt its heat and blare, the sting of so much light in my eyes. Continue reading Who will watch you while you sleep?
Winter blows in.
Geese gather in the yard in advance of the ice, eating what remains of the grass. Continue reading Winter blows in
One final note. As I am finishing this text, I open my copy of Breton’s L’Amour fou, a(nother) book in his trilogy of novels dedicated to the unfolding of unexpected encounters and coincidences. A ticket falls out on which is printed the following command: “Please read carefully.” I do. Or rather, I read that line several times, since I don’t have my reading glasses with me, and what follows it is printed in type so painfully small that it devolves into wavering black squiggles, a drawing perhaps, another block of excised text. Definitely not words. Continue reading Rereading or Practicing Surrealism? Method: short poems from novels
Pintails warble into the quiet air; then the sound of a rifle and its recoil. Hunting season again. I dress my doe-coloured dog in a rouge coat, pull on my gloves. Continue reading Kindred blood of all that breathes
Insomniac, I wake, open the envelope of the day and shove another act inside as if the day were expandable, made of pleats, an extraordinary accordion capable of melody every time I squeeze, not some exhausted drone, a whine or tumble of falling keys, of rain-soaked shoes, of numb-finger stitches, belated appointments and warmed-over meals, the bones of my spine dully aching, rain dashing at … Continue reading Fall Semester Sonnet