Saturday, September 26, 2009

Memory At These Speeds

Jane Miller (1996)

I love these hours alone I do


                               like them. Like them, I am

slow to divine

                               meaning from change, meaning

I love you & remembering

                                                 waking next

to you like a white gull against a white sky

                               become blue

I feel detached, although I realize

this is the drift of happiness it is not

                               my choice

                                                 yes I like you

for it. Faith

                            for this moment is living

with a fear

                               I will lose you or myself,

   each arousing

                               the other,


                               that spectacular hour in the afternoon

             when you arrive & suck me

                                     as if it were through time

we are reconciled

                                        or in dream,

             the desert we return to


                                     all that disappears

                when we look back,

                                                 for this time we are lovers we are

moved by the sea

                                     in a studio with aqua floorboards

             & white lamps now like stars inhabiting a pattern

                                     now random.

Never let ourselves be subject

                                                 to either dependence again

or pain. Where once there were so many

   words we had to choose

                                                 between us,

your sentence effortless as mine is fair.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Enigma We Answer by Living

Alison Deming

Einstein didn't speak as a child
waiting till a sentence formed and
emerged full-blown from his head.

I do the thing, he later wrote, which
nature drives me to do. Does a fish
know the water in which he swims?

This came up in conversation
with a man I met by chance,
friend of a friend of a friend,

who passed through town carrying
three specimen boxes of insects
he'd collected in the Grand Canyon—

one for mosquitoes, one for honeybees,
one for butterflies and skippers,
each lined up in a row, pinned and labeled,

tiny morphologic differences
revealing how adaptation
happened over time. The deeper down

he hiked, the older the rock
and the younger
the strategy for living in that place.

And in my dining room the universe
found its way into this man
bent on cataloguing each innovation,

though he knows it will all disappear—
the labels, the skippers, the canyon.
We agreed then, the old friends and the new,

that it's wrong to think people are a thing apart
from the whole, as if we'd sprung
from an idea out in space, rather than emerging

from the sequenced larval mess of creation
that binds us with the others,
all playing the endgame of a beautiful planet

that's made us want to name
each thing and try to tell
its story against the vanishing.