Monday, September 24, 2007


From the Archives

(March 2005) Here is the beautiful final section of “The Gardens,” the concluding poem in Mary Oliver’s American Primitive (1983).

You gleam
as you lie back
breathing like something
taken from water,
a sea creature, except
for your two human legs
which tremble
and open
into the dark country
I keep dreaming of. How
shall I touch you
unless it is
I begin here and there,
finding you,
the heart within you,
and the animal,
and the voice; I ask
over and over
for your whereabouts, trekking
wherever you take me,
the boughs of your body
leading deeper into the trees,
over the white fields,
the rivers of bone,
the shouting,
the answering, the rousing,
great run toward the interior,
the unseen, the unknowable

How shall I touch you unless it is everywhere? It really is a blasphemy to write prose after those lines but here I go typing away.

I have been bent over my table working at the computer all day, but just stopped to cook up a skillet of spinach in garlic and olive oil with a healthy serving of lemon zest atop it. I edited 192 freelance pages today and my brain is crispy-fried and throbbing and in desperate need of poetry, connection. It is also spilling over with ideas and insights and ponderings from this academic poetry criticism that I'm working on though, which is wonderful and satisfying.

So I'm quitting work now, while my back still bends. Will do karate catas to stretch out/move, then lie on the sofa in my big-ass HRC T-shirt and black bikini underwear to watch basketball tournament games.

And oh goodie. I have half a bottle of red wine that I intend to drink during the games. Red seal ale would be a better choice, but oh well.

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