Monday, July 06, 2009


No view: full dark: so this
is goodbye, Ithaca, a month
made shorter in retrospect
in the killing of visible time
in the watches of the night
and the gone-by reckoned up
in pictures taken on camera phones
but mostly in the words—between me and Emily,
between me and you, and the books
I’ve read or managed to dip into:
Ammiel Alcalay, A.R. Ammons,
Badiou, Bernadette Mayer,
Codrescu, Andre,
Donna Stonecipher,
Fanny Howe, Allen
Grossman (chose not to review),
Jacques Roubaud, Juliana Spahr,
Lynne Tillman, Jonathan
Monroe, Fitterman &
Place, Jacques
Roubaud, Monique
Truong (all of three pages), one
month’s constellation to color
my memory of an inward time
in a place that demands little formal attention
except perhaps to the weather, which careful
readers will have noted to be unseasonably
cool and rainy with only the last couple
of days at all summerlike: rain
this evening, but hot and bright this morning
so that the three of could sit
at the flat rocky knees of Cascadilla Falls
and put our feet in the water: indescribable material
happiness of watching Sadie at first
in doubt, bending her knees
to keep out of cold water, then touching
with fingers, then sitting in only a shirt
at the water’s edge dangling both feet
with a grin reflecting the sunlight
in lemon slivers on the surface of
live water. Meantime the world
wobbles on: tense quiet in Iran, we
may not know for years what to do
with the pictures we’ve seen and words
we’ve read, yet I feel sure that someday
that regime will fall and however long that takes
they’ll look back on June 2009 and say
the revolution started here: we are called
to revolution again and again, to fulfill
what may have been empty or cynical promises,
to take words literally that if taken as words
do nothing to hold back a sea of troubles:
in short, be the sea, be part of your time
and if impoverished be impoverished
with it: rich or poor, like Croesus unable
to know if you’re lucky until after
you’re dead: rich as Croesus I’ll rise
tomorrow with my little family and get into
the car, stop for one last cup of really
excellent coffee, and drive to Cleveland:
an old friend, Sarah Gridley, visionary
poet, awaits us there, and the next day
will take us home, set us down
on the fringes of an enormous local history
that we’ll try to be a part of, suffer
and grow, don’t take it too big, don’t
expect to be small. The only weather
is Sadie’s sound machine plus the whizz
of a fan, but let me try before sleep
to interpret the dark: dim window
through leaves at an angle down the street
to accompany night air soft with car sounds
moist as breath but cool, even,
and the faintest sense, brought by that window
of movement out there, motion made coherent
by its invisibility, and now as I lean forward
a streetlamp slides its light down powerlines
into the cloudlike bank of a leaf cluster
each leaf with a surface one visible one
invisible, neither more real than the other
or less. Night’s calling. Farewell
to an idea of myself as out of time
and out of place: I’m ready, brink
of leaving, to be here.

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