Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Advice in the Form of Confusions

              I have been watching the young
struggle through their daily lives
              and waste the flesh we all remember
and I have seen the gardens they shine
              their leaves in, the kind invented
by distraction and devices that run
              on little lithium ion batteries, flat
disks that power music and voice
              into strong tremble and staccato chain
that barrels into the angelic orders
              we raise our heads to see, or hope
to see, but never do, for they have
              sprung into louder volumes and faster
rhythms that disorient and confuse.
              There are sounds we can no longer
hear, at our age, and we don't want
              anymore to know what we left
behind on that sill or under
              that abbreviated sun. I can't know
wry substitutions. I can't hear breath
              embrace five-minutes-ago or tomorrow
and there must be a word for that,
              but I don't know it. I know the sound
of thinking a hard whistle into the lung.
              I know the shape of houndstooth
and the hang of each tag's pricing
              itself out of so many's reach.
I swoon and recoil at the tresses blowing
              in an arbor without glow
or flame. These are reprieves. Respites
              in the demands of sensation
and flow. Know this: you can you can
              you can you can you can.

Margot Schilpp

Civil Twilight
Carnegie Mellon University Press

To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem