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I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew
it would be as a lady in a long white dress.
It is strange that she has returned
as somebody's dalmatian. I meet
After the celebrations,
people, TV channels, telephones,
the year’s recently-corrected digit
finally falls asleep.
Between the final night and the first dawn
a jagged piece of sky
That feeling of my soul getting yanked
I wonder where my soul hides when I’m sick
My heart feels as if it’s getting beat up
Is it because the restless ocean is clumping up?
And when they bombed other people’s houses, we
but not enough, we opposed them but not
enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America
Oliver Sacks is going to die,
He tells us blithely in the New York Times.
He’s 81. His liver’s shot.
He’s blind in one eye
Though when both worked fine
On moonlight night
when moon is bright
with his throw-back head
and his open legs
up at the moon
The trees I’ve glimpsed from the window
of a night train were
the saddest trees.
They seemed about to speak,
vanished like soldiers.
The other people quit their stone fields to come here.
They slip in from nights that even the snow abandons.
They leave ashes in their glasses
and stains on the table.
On the night we dug up your father’s body
(for reasons I can no longer remember)
we took turns with the shovel
as we passed a bottle of Whyte & Mackay
back and forth.
Freezes, goes blue screen, shuts down. Dead pixel, dark.
Ghost echoes, lossy in the source code. Time zones away,
people who have actually shaken hands with my online friend
they say we are a family that is good at death / i make a decision to hold
a seminar on how to live / i schedule this party for my uncles on the first
day of spring / my dead uncles play hooky with the afterlife
We’re all aware that human hair is dead
Yet we spend thousands taking care of it.
It’s like an endless funeral.
The moment your hair hits air, it’s toast.
It only lives inside the follicle.
The thing that death gave you —
your face leaks
your face overflows
Your face is the grave of your nose
your face is the grave of your ears
He sat cross-legged, weeping on the steps
when Mom unlocked and opened the front door.
O God, he said. O God.
He wants to kill me, Mom.
bear with me it wasn’t long ago I was brainless
lazily pulling fireflies into my teeth chewing them
into pure light so much of me then was nothing
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I can manage being alone,
can pace out convivial hope
across my managing ground.
Someone might call, later.
What do the dead make of us
that we’d flay ourselves trying
During two hours on the train
I rerun the film of my life
Two minutes per year on average
Half an hour for childhood
Another half-hour for prison
Love, books, wandering
take up the rest
K was supposed to come with the key, I was
to wait outside the gate. I arrived on time,
the time we had agreed on and waited, as agreed,
At the heart there is a hollow sun
by which we are constructed and undone
An ars poetica
I remember the death, in Russia,
of postage stamps
You ran naked out the door.
The neighbours laughed; I chased you down.
I hardly see you anymore.
1. 18 and Life
her friend takes her to
When I began to write, I didn’t know
each of my words would bit by bit remove
things from the world and in return leave blank
I’ve heard the phrase between you
and me too many times to believe
it to be true, but between me and you
— so we said to the somewhat: Be born —
& the shadow kept arriving in segments,
cold currents pushed minerals
At the end of the garden walk
the wind and its satellite wait for me;
their meaning I will not know
No, nothing much has changed.
A year later, the world is still one you’d recognize —
no winged cars to clog the air,
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
It is 2005, just before landfall.
Here I am, a labyrinth, and I am a mess.
I am located at the corner of Waterway
It was down that road he brought me, still
in the trunk of his car. I won’t say it felt right,
but it did feel expected. The way you…
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading — treading — till it seemed
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
Living, I had no might
To make you hear,
Now, in the inmost night,
Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove’s great son to her glad husband gave…
I think I should have loved you presently,
And given in earnest words I flung in jest;
And lifted honest eyes for you to see,
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
A thin wet sky, that yellows at the rim,
And meets with sun-lost lip the marsh’s brim.
The pools low lying, dank with moss and mould,
How great unto the living seem the dead!
How sacred, solemn; how heroic grown;
How vast and vague, as they obscurely tread
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
For weeks and weeks the autumn world stood still,
Clothed in the shadow of a smoky haze;
The fields were dead, the wind had lost its will,