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Two Poems

Edgar Poe

Winter's the thing.
A place to lay one's head.
To sleep at last

to sleep. Blue on flesh
in snow light,
iced boughs overhead.

This is a poem about breath,
brick, a piece of ink
in the distance.

Winter's the thing
I miss. The font is still.
A fanfare of stone air.

Lessons in Darkness

Those notes are fetching
when they touch the ear.
It's true, there are more tears
in sand than water.
"Come out and play,"
the song's refrain
in my head, my sawdust showing.
My heart, your eyes
is what the day made.

There, the notes, the song,
the besidedness to live
on Saturday, to walk out,
wanted to, right out the frame.
The sadness, gas pumps,
sunshine on oil,
that crow overhead
destroys the picture.
Everything faking it so badly.

What's so wrong about the real,
so off with clarity,
dumbfuck, shirttail-hanging
scatter-brained word.
Shattered-pane world?

The whir of the camera inside pictures
but we want the voice to lift,
don't we, across the mini-plaza
to where? How about
pulling taffy for a living
or a rabbit from one ideal-ology
to another. That's the trick
isn't it, parallel lives?

You know, here a dumpster
there a Dane. On the street
I see birds, bricks, clouds
I see a friend getting into her car
I see myself in the puddle I see.
And even if we pray to remain
unabated, a minor chord
can sometimes reconnoiter
the most distant thoughts
camouflaged in lace and literature.

O western wind let's not
decorate the light with roseate diadems,
plumbago shadows in the rushes.
Haven't we heard enough
from the birds, their annual trips
and cross-talk? Listen.
The arc of a rocket
is louder than a rainbow.

Peter Gizzi

In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 19872011
Wesleyan University Press

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