Sunday, July 03, 2016

"One World" by Joe Bolton

I have a photograph:
It is the green of a Kentucky summer,
A few skinny sycamores
Gone white with afternoon light,
A shadowed dirt road
Curving off who knows where in the distance.
You are leaning against a blue fence,
Legs tan and hair bleached a little from the sun,
My T-shirt tenting your breast.
Years later and a thousand miles removed.
A waiter named Rico lifts his sad eyebrows.
I nod.
I've been drinking at this crummy bar
In the spring dusk of Florida,
Watching the cars go by
With their headlights just on,
Hearing a siren wail.
I don't remember how it was
We came to live in cities.
But I think that somewhere this evening
A man has checked into a cheap motel
And shot himself in the head.
His driver's license and an empty bottle
Laid on the bedside table
For explanation.
Maybe he had a photograph
He couldn't reconcile his life with anymore
And wondered, at the end,
What he had come here hoping to find.
Soon enough now,
I'll be either drunk or out of money.
And there will be nothing to do
But walk back home in the first dark.
I can see on the television
It’s cold where you are,
And the sky is failing all across America.
Why were you smiling
That afternoon so long ago?
I can only think we must have been happy.
Somehow that helps.
We are still here, after all,
And it is the same world.

-from "The Last Nostalgia"

Monday, June 20, 2016

In Her Shoes

I have just (finally?) watched In Her Shoes, and it is simply wonderful! I highly recommend it. And as Roger Ebert wrote, "It's not every big-budget movie that gets its two biggest emotional payoffs with poems by Elizabeth Bishop and e.e. cummings." And it looks like "books by Elizabeth Bishop and ee cummings have doubled in sales after the poets' works were featured in the movie" (source: BookSlut). So here are, for your reading pleasure, those two great poems:

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


i carry your heart with me
ee cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

(Originally posted on Dec. 2, 2005)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Absolution

To My People 

I absolve myself of you.
I absolve me of the anger
dripping morbidly from turbid eyes;
of the hatred, loud and raucous,
and stupid;
of the ignorance engulfing you
like summer haze:
humid, and sticky, and slowly reeking.
I absolve me of your sins.

I absolve me of your children,
dull and arrogant,
and devoid of hope.
I absolve me of your tongue,
its beautiful words
gone blind.

I absolve me even of myself,
this guilt of being,
this exhaust of writing,
this ball of fury in your throats.
I absolve me even of this,
the need for absolution.

(Originally posted on May 22, 2007)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

No Return, No Exchange

Here's my life; take it,
see what you can make of it.
Like a gum that's been chewed
for far too long, it's lost its flavor.
I'm done with it; and I'm afraid
I've made quite the mess of it...
There, see if you can do better.
And let me know; I'm curious.
But I won't hold my breath;
I don't care enough to.

I've waited on sidewalks
where busses don't pass,
and the riders have all fallen asleep.
I've lingered in the fog of old songs
and teenage dreams, and woken up
to find me lurking around
a playground, overgrown
into the swing-set I forgot me in.
This adulthood, I fear, is not for me;
but then again, neither was childhood.
I'm not angry to have come to this world,
but I don't think I'll miss it much.
And to be honest, I don't think
it'll miss me much either...

(Originally posted on February 10, 2012)

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Laguna Beach Breakdown" by Joe Bolton

You had come searching for a second chance,
But trying to break through, merely broke down,
Until at last any sense of purpose
Seemed nothing more than something else to lose.
You let it go and, seeing no reason to mourn
What you could no longer name, kept silence
Under the vast vacuum of heaven
Someone had nailed stars up to to hold in place.
You were hoping maybe a change of season
Might help, but there was none. You woke at dawn
Shuddering in the indifferent embrace
Of your own arms, unable to turn or return,
Dreaming of drowning, neutral as a seaweed in the war
The sea continually waged against the shore.

-from "The Last Nostalgia"