In our green Plymouth station wagon, we crisscrossed the map. My mother let me choose our destinations. “Any state but Georgia” was Eve’s rule, though I still memorized the Georgia motto: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.
Her other rule: we couldn’t stay more than a month in any place. . . . Read more
So you will never find me—
In this life—with a sharp and invisible
Fence, I encircle myself
With honeysuckle, bind myself,
With hoarfrost, cover myself.
So you will never hear me
At night—with a crone’s subtlety:
With reticence—I fortify myself. . . .
We do not recognize the body
Of Emmett Till. We do not know
The boy’s name nor the sound
Of his mother wailing. We have
Never heard a mother wailing.
We do not know the history
Of ourselves in this nation. . . .
Enter the Valley of Knowledge,
with its boundless myriad roads
unfurling in every direction.
Here, no path resembles the next.
Here, the traveler of the body is different
from the traveler of the soul. . . .
If the Pyramid at Giza were
at Bleecker and LaGuardia,
the base would extend down to West Broadway
and Spring, and across Spring to Mercer,
and up Mercer to Bleecker and across
Bleecker to LaGuardia,
sloping up on four sides
to its peak the height of the skyscraper
on Spring and Varick. . . .
The room in which I start sobbing again and wonder
if my sobs will hurt the baby inside me, and the room
in which I hope so, a room made entirely of a window.
The room of my husband’s goodnight,
which is a room in a large municipal building with Styrofoam ceilings
where lines must be formed so forms can be signed, . . .
Boone’s genius was to recognize the difficulty as neither material nor political but one purely moral and aesthetic.
—William Carlos Williams,
“The Discovery of Kentucky”
Narrator is unmanageable. Demonstrates a disregard for form bordering on the paranoid. Questioned closely, he declares himself the open enemy of conventional narrative categories. . . . Read more
It is black. Black and rearing up; rounded points, pointy points. Black and matted together; plates and plains, lines and radiant circles. Black on black. Black on black on black.
Is this a mountain? Mountains? Is this the ocean—all those rearing points, that shifting? . . . Read more
Part One. Before Getting to My Desk
Before getting to my desk this morning I’ve woken to the back of Luke’s spine in blue light and understood for the first time that is the image I have been dreaming of after working the “I” entirely out of a poem that didn’t need it. . . . Read more
In my beginning is my end.
—T. S. Eliot, “East Coker”
I always find them alone. Laid on their backs and clawing at the ceiling, like they were still falling from a too-high place. I find them on the shelf next to the dishware. . . . Read more