Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I could be in love like this

Late Hours

By Lisel Mueller

On summer nights the world
moves within earshot
on the interstate with its swish
and growl, an occasional siren
that sends chills through us.
Sometimes, on clear, still nights,
voices float into our bedroom,
lunar and fragmented,
as if the sky had let them go
long before our birth.

In winter we close the windows
and read Chekhov,
nearly weeping for his world.

What luxury, to be so happy
that we can grieve
over imaginary lives.

Mugged By Poetry

by Dorianne Laux
—for Tony Hoagland who sent me a handmade chapbook made from old postcards called OMIGOD POETRY with a whale breaching off the coast of New Jersey and seven of his favorite poems by various authors typed up, taped on, and tied together with a broken shoelace.

Reading a good one makes me love the one who wrote it,
as well as the animal or element or planet or person
the poet wrote the poem for. I end up like I always do,
flat on my back like a drunk in the grass, loving the world.
Like right now, I'm reading a poem called "Summer"
by John Ashbery whose poems I never much cared for,
and suddenly, in the dead of winter, "There is that sound
like the wind/Forgetting in the branches that means
something/Nobody can translate..." I fall in love
with that line, can actually hear it (not the line
but the wind) and it's summer again and I forget
I don't like John Ashbery poems. So I light a cigarette
and read another by Zbigniew Herbert, a poet
I've always admired but haven't read enough of, called
"To Marcus Aurelius" that begins "Good night Marcus
put out the light/and shut the book For overhead/is raised
a gold alarm of stars..." First of all I suddenly love
anyone with the name Zbigniew. Second of all I love
anyone who speaks in all sincerity to the dead
and by doing so brings that personage back to life,
plunging a hand through the past to flip off the light.
The astral physics of it just floors me. Third of all
is that "gold alarm of stars..." By now I'm a goner,
and even though I have to get up tomorrow at 6 am
I forge ahead and read "God's Justice" by Anne Carson,
another whose poems I'm not overly fond of
but don't actively disdain. I keep reading one line
over and over, hovering above it like a bird on a wire
spying on the dragonfly with "turquoise dots all down its back
like Lauren Bacall". Like Lauren Bacall!! Well hell,
I could do this all night. I could be in love like this
for the rest of my life, with everything in the expanding
universe and whatever else might be beyond it
that we can't grind a lens big enough to see. I light up
another smoke, maybe the one that will kill me,
and go outside to listen to the moon scalding the iced trees.
What, I ask you, will become of me?

{listen to the poem and read more by Dorianne Laux, here}

Reading the above poem by Dorianne Laux last night made me quite ridiculously happy. I had found the Lisel Mueller poem, and was thinking, oh yes, exactly, that's exactly it. Our house is near a freeway, and in bed at night, the swish and growl. And once in a while the sirens careen down the freeway, desperate and determined sounding. The windows wide open now, as we've had days in a row of 30 C. Once in a while, usually on the weekends, the voice of someone leaving a neighbour's house, wafts up, and into my dreams.

So, then comes the Laux poem. Mugged by poetry, and yes! That's exactly it, that's exactly why, this blog. This is why I read poetry, write it, too, I suppose. For those lines that make you love the poet, fall down drunk on the grass, loving the world again. And the way one poem leads you to another poem. I love this poem, because any writing instructor would say, you can't write a poem about reading poems, and smoking cigarettes, and she has, and it's bloody gorgeous. I also love the way she's told the story of the poems and how they came into her possession in this epigraph which is longwinded and not like usual prim and proper, weighty and at times show-offy epigraphs. Poems tied together with a shoelace. Yes.

If you can be in love with a line of poetry, then you can be in love with the world, the universe. That must be something to strive for in amidst the difficult and brutal and senseless news of the day.

And even though part of me feels like I ought to be detaching myself from my house, my yard, I love my backyard.

Rob and I sat outside on the weekend, late in the day, and drank a glass of wine together. You can see, above, how all the seeds we planted in pots are coming through. The sunflowers, the poppies, nasturtiums.

The dahlia, below, from a bulb.

So it takes quite a while before you know what you've got, and you stare at empty looking pots for a bit, but the surprise later on is lovely.

I took so many photos of this rose bush, which I will now bore you with:

And lastly, the progress on this year's hairstyle....


  1. Who could be bored by a rose bush? And reading Chekhov in winter? The best. xo

  2. so excellent... so inspiring indeed. i thank you so much for the effort and good inspiration.


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