Dad's glasses are on a Newsweek on the coffee table. Where my feet go when I am visiting. He is somewhere behind the bedroom door. My mother is on the couch. The tomatoes are all sliced. Such a strange displacement. I am four again.
She doesn't know what to do. She never knows what to do. I put my arm around her because she is amazing. I tell her that. Right now, I'm telling her that. But then, I believe we're beautiful when we're vulnerable. And her cheekbones have softened with tears…
Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things. The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man on the farm. The tradesman scarcely ever gives an ideal worth to his work, but is ridden by the routine of his craft, and the soul is subject to dollars. The priest becomes a form; the attorney, a statute-book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship.
In this distribution of functions, the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking.
Other mothers swim in the pool with their children, many of the mothers older. The sun puts a glisten on the ends of their hair. Their bodies underwater look unearthly. The woman in the lane next to me has wide shoulders like my grandmother.
We wrap our children in towels the same way: so that their bodies are swallowed warm with them. We hector them about sunscreen.
When I swim and I am entirely alone with my thoughts, my children only pass through my mind as topics.
I think today when my daughter and son lay together on the bed sleeping. His lanky body next to her curve. Is that not a poem?
14 August 2006
Vol. 6, No. 2
Among sayings that have a currency in spite of being wholly false upon the face of them for the sake of a half-truth upon another subject which is accidentally combined with error, one of the grossest and broadest conveys the monstrous proposition that it is easy to tell the truth and hard to tell a lie. I wish heartily it were.
8 February 2006
Vol. 5, No. 4
classic, poetic theory
Poetry, like the world, may be said to have four ages, but in a different order: the first age of poetry being the age of iron; the second, of gold; the third, of silver; and the fourth, of brass.
2 June 2004
Vol. 4, No. 2
The first time I saw prostitutes walking their track I was in my early twenties.
2 June 2004
Vol. 4, No. 2
The outside is the inside in poetry and the poem.