Now a Darkness is Coming
–Eiléan Ní ChuilleanáinWater has no memory
and you drown in it like a kind of absence.
It falls apart
in a continual death
a hundred-gallon tank as
innocent as outer space.
facts about your relations;
wood passes on patristic
bone and feather,
and every stone recalls its quarry and the axe.
The Ungay Science
–Carlos Drummond de Andrade
A Ingaia ciência
A madureza, essa terrível prenda
que alguém nos dá, raptando-nos, com ela,
todo sabor gratuito de oferenda
sob a glacialidade de uma estela,
a madureza vê, posto que a venda
interrompa a surpresa da janela,
o círculo vazio, onde se estenda,
e que o mundo converte noma cela.
A madureza sabe o preço exato
dos amores, dos ócios, dos quebrantos,
e nada pode contra sua ciência
e nem contra si mesma. O agudo olfato,
o agudo olhar, a mão, livre de encantos,
se destroem no sonho da existência.
At the End of My Marriage, I Think of Something My Daughter Said About Trees
When a tree is cut down, the sky’s like
finally, and rushes in.
Even when you trim a tree,
the sky fills in before the branch
hits the ground. It colors the space blue
because now it can.
Why We Are All Afraid to Be
She speaks to me fondly
of passions and talents,
of guitars and stars,
with such breathless intensity
then stops short and
for speaking at all.
All because somewhere in her life,
someone she loved broke her heart
by lashing out with ignorance
at her sublime and pure words
and telling her to
be quiet, stop talking,
because nobody cares.
If you pay attention long enough,
it’s a familiar story.
The boy who rarely participates.
The old woman who is too hesitant
to join in a conversation.
The man who thinks three seconds
too long before he speaks.
People aren’t born sad.
We make them that way.
Power is an inferiority complex wound up like a clock by an
inability to relax. At the height of my power I have to be taken to
a power source in the woods where I am recharged. This power
source is not actually in the woods: it’s in my mother. It hums
quietly in her heart like an atomic plant and the place to plug in is
Poem (The Day Gets Slowly Started)
–James SchuylerThe day gets slowly started.A rap at the bedroom door,bitter coffee, hot cereal, juicethe color of sun whichisn’t out this morning. Acool shower, a shave, soothingNoxzema for razor burn. A bedis made. The paper doesn’t comeuntil twelve or one. A gray shineout the windows. “No oneleaves the building untilthose scissors are returned.”It’s that kind of a place.Nonetheless, I’ve seen worse.The worried gray is meltinginto sunlight. I wish I’dbrought my book of enlighteningliterary essays. I wish itwere lunch time. I wish I hadan appetite. The day agreeswith me better than it did, or,better, I agree with it. I’llslide down a sunslip yet, thiscrass September morning.
At the End of the Text, a Small Bestial Form
This is the glimpse of the god you were never supposed to get. Like the fox slipping into the thicket. Like the thief in the night outside the window. The cool gray dorsal fin in the distance. Invisible mountain briefly visible through the mist formed of love and guilt.
And the stranger’s face hidden in the family picture. The one
imagining her freedom, like
the butterfly blown against the fence in her best yellow dress by the softest breeze of summer:
To have loved and to have suffered. To have waited for nothing, and for nothing to have come.
And the water like sleek black fur combed back that afternoon:
The young lovers rowed a boat. The boy reeled in a fish. The husband smiled, raising a toast.
While the children grew anxious for dinner. While something struggled under the water bound by ropes. And the warm milk dribbled down the sick man’s chin. And the wife, the mother, the daughter, the hostess, and those few people on earth she would ever wish were dead would be the ones she loved the most