The cold had come in a calm so complete not a molecule of water had moved, and not a leaf had fallen from a tree, not a bug nor animal nor drop of snow or rain had moved the water. Water needs movement in order to change. The same way you can microwave water far beyond boiling and it will sit unboiled until you touch it with a spoon and it explodes, that same way water can sometimes freeze unfrozen, and stay that way, on the edge of ice until something touches it.
Sixty-two year old Paul McCartney, a bankrupt businessman of Liverpool, strolled down Penny Lane watching children laugh behind the back of a banker with a motorcar. He worried how he was going to pay the rent due next week on his flat across the hall from Father McKenzie. He carried an old transistor radio that he had pilfered from the junkshop down by Strawberry Fields.
"Her great tragedy happened just three years ago," said the child; "that would be since your sister's time."
"Her tragedy?" asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place.
"You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon," said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn.
"A model of the Manchester branch of the Young Women's Christian Association," said Harvey.
"Are there any lions?" asked Eric hopefully. He had been reading Roman history and thought that where you found Christians you might reasonably expect to find a few lions.
That's when Wallace will come out of the backroom, the paint hangar, I call it. He'll wipe his hands on a turpentine rag and he'll smell like noxious chemicals. He'll give you a big grin and a waggle of his rug-like brown eyebrows. You'll like him right away because his face is cleaner than mine and he looks glad to see you. You'll expect him to ask if he can help you. He'll walk right up to you and you'll extend your right hand for him to shake. He'll put the paint rag in your palm.
"Don't look down."
The one in charge was the one who said it, though that changed depending on who brought the best toys. We started with rocks. Then bottles, plates, fly-fishing lures, paper airplanes and doll heads. One day we'd fling ourselves.
A poet must try and make sense of the enormity of loss that steeps our life with difficult meaning. The great achievement of Fritz Goldberg's text is that grief remains unanswerable and alluring… Where we might expect heavy-handedness and painful confessionalism, Fritz Goldberg's poems are buoyant, and like the title of her collection, filled with linguistic, frolicsome concentration.
At the campfire, they sang, "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down."
I drank beer from a can and passed around a bottle of whiskey.
When I opened the front door the moon erupted.
I called to the crows and was answered by feathers.
treasure our mouths
not just for gold under our tongues
but for silly raptures they accidentally exclaim…
The sun broke through…
I read aloud on the balcony
your poem for the 'two wives'…
We've come to expect disillusion and madness where before there had been simply chiffon.
25 April 2007
You could be sweeping the stairwell, unaware
all this time that discipline was discipline.
You didn't know that using turnips
would win you favor, that saving rainwater
in the barrel would make anyone happy.
22 April 2007
When I first see the dead deer, I think
Hope and Remembrance.
It's not the cluster of pinks I'd wanted,
not the first sight of the first crocus…
16 March 2007
The body: a series of sanctuaries, an archipelago
of temples clung to the rock facade of hill or bone.
13 March 2007
We work in a winter of soon & make do
while we wait for your wife to bring fruit & deli sandwiches
to prove connections best, maintained.
Barefoot under a borrowed poncho, we touch
(misused synapse to misused synapse)
but wonder where are the fucking marshmallows?
16 April 2007
But there becomes a point in space,
he sighs, where I stop and all that is not me
begins. What physics, what magic
happens here, at the seam?
27 March 2007
I have no recipes
that remind me of home,
only the memory of my mother
cooking, cutting up fruit…
For hope, we blended myths with our known truths. We knew the hair of the dead continued to grow, but did buried babies learn to talk? We grew confused. Am I a horse or a crow? My grandfather was a grave so I am a grave.
In my bureau is a matchbox. I am not going to make this easy for you. In the box there are two cloves, a snip of lavender, and a piece of ribbon. Inside the ribbon, a girl walks tiptoe with outstretched arms past the living room. She is my grandmother. In her pocket…
5 April 2007
& the little cardinal stuck
to the bottom of a baby food jar
never comes unglued
mommy in fact
never comes unglued & the daddy
(part Mr. Brady part Clark Kent…
Your laundry on the line like a giant, breathing beast,
like the billowing sheets above the alleys in Trastevere,
where mothers yell after their children Vieni qua! Vieni qua!
while underwear sways like language itself. Rippling and tossing…
14 May 2007
Dusk and a group of balloons deflating
onto a packed runway. It's defeating.
Plane after plane noses by them in time
17 May 2007
Right now, a relative you never knew
rides across a desert in the bull's eye
of a gun. His and your language is no longer
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound…
If you have forgotten water lilies floating
On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance…
One star is lighted in the west,
Two in the zenith glow.
For a moment I have forgotten
Wars and women who mourn—
11 May 2007
We only run
ragged, milky animals too late
at night or first thing
in the morning, when the paper
doesn't come. In the green room
and yellow field of warning…
19 April 2007
I'm stopped by the slow guillotine of the grade
Crossing—three diesels dragging gear north to Fort Drum
Not just tanks, & Fighting Bradleys, & armored cars
But oil transports, hospital trucks, even grain hoppers:
Everything we need to fight the long war in a foreign land.
And what hope does an average girl have when the gossip's
already turned her into a cold-blooded pariah, a bitch deluxe?
A spurned lover here, a few premenstrual days there and I'm
gorgonizing men in their tracks like some monster from the lochs.
30 May 2007
The town goes on meanwhile,
its hundred thousand
languages opening like
flowers on another continent.