Archive for December, 2007

Why is the Color of Snow?

Let’s ask a poet with no way of knowing.
Someone who can give us an answer,
another duplicity to help double the world.

What kind of poetry is all question, anyway?
Each question leads to an iceburn,
a snownova, a single bed spinning in space.

Poet, Decide! I am lonely with questions.
What is snow? What isn’t?
Do you see how it is for me.

Melt yourself to make yourself more clear
for the next observer.
I could barely see you anyway.

A blizzard I understand better,
the secrets of many revealed as one,
becoming another on my only head.

It’s true that snow takes on gold from sunset
and red from rearlights. But that’s occasional.
What is constant is white,

or is that only sight, a reflection of eyewhites
and light? Because snow reflects only itself,
self upon self upon self,

is a blanket used for smothering, for sleeping.
For not seeing the naked, flawed body.
Concealing it from the lover curious, ever curious!

Who won’t stop looking.
White for privacy.
Millions of privacies to bless us with snow.

Don’t we melt it?
Aren’t we human dark with sugar hot to melt it?
Anyway, the question—

if a dream is a construction then what
is not a construction? If a bank of snow
is an obstruction, then what is not a bank of snow?

A winter vault of valuable crystals
convertible for use only by a zen
sun laughing at us.

Oh Materialists! Thinking matter matters.
If we dream of snow, of banks and blankets
to keep our treasure safe forever,

what world is made, that made us that we keep
making and making to replace the dreaming at last.
To stop the terrible dreaming.

-Brenda Shaughnessy

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Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

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Fishing in Winter

A man staring at a small lake sees

His father cast light line out over

The willows. He’s forgotten his

Father has been dead for two years

And the lake is where a blue fog

Rolls, and the sky could be, if it

Were black or blue or white,

The backdrop of all attention.

He wades out to join the father,

Following where the good strikes

Seem to lead. It’s cold. The shape

Breath takes on a cold day is like

Anything else–a rise on a small lake,

The Oklahoma hills, blue scrub–

A shape already inside a shape,

Two songs, two breaths on the water.

-Ralph Burns

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Enueg 29

I think about Bukowski
vomiting out half-god poetry
and calling it the rallying cry
and saying that the new poetry
doesn’t feel good, doesn’t feel like poetry
doesn’t have substance, like a hot steaming shit
I don’t care. I don’t care anymore.
These years since college have done something to me.
I didn’t even realize, but I’m trying to turn myself
into a safe idea,

with my writing blog, and how little I push
at the edges, but I am surrounded
by moles
and they think I’m a daisy

oh god, is it supposed to be like this?
to be 29 and not looking anymore, not for men
or work, or rainbows or Heideggar
but just turning silent, like stone inside
just breathing so shallow
and not able to want the past
nor the future, just certain
there will be too many worlds you must
be just on the tip of
the ikea world
and the furnished living room
world and the kids eating their
sandwiches world and the easy to understand
that is not actually easy, but appears easy,
because it is loud
and the tv shows and commercials
and what that one poet said about how
everything we do is important
and I watched seven hours of tv today,
so this is shaping, heavily, who I am
what my life is

and god, there was supposed to be something
that came after that hell, after the depression
of those ten years, when the mind fully fused
and there was less falling into the abyss, and more
acceptance of the routines and responsibilities of
this nation, I thought there would be something
in the quiet after that, I thought it would mean
I had gotten somewhere.
but when the storms ended,
I saw that what they had blurred out was
this great unmoving silence, that throbs in long
meters and is like the confused ghost looking back
at her body in the snow.

-Nina Alvarez

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