Midnights: La jetée

Michael Palmer

Will the fires yes thefires will consume us.We will scatter our ownashes, scatter them in a spiralbetween lake and sky,cadmium yellow sky.The lovers, intertwined,will speak of thisat lakeside, will say nothingof this by water’s edge.They will taste the salton each other’s lipsand discover the painof the salt light,salt where the sculptoronce signaled with his handsa little to the left,a little to the right,amid the tides.Is it he or Iwho would say,Out of salt we are made?Only a foollike myselfwould write of thisat midnightamong the fireswhen allshould be leftin silence.

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Photo of Michael Palmer
Photo:
Juno Gemes

Michael Palmer was born into an Italian-American family in Manhattan in 1943 and has lived in San Francisco since 1969. His book of poems, The Laughter of the Sphinx, appeared from New Directions in 2016. He has taught at numerous universities in the United States, Europe and Asia, and has published translations from a variety of languages, in particular French, Brazilian, Portuguese and Russian. He has been involved in joint projects with many visual artists and composers in the United States and elsewhere, and has also served as an artistic collaborator with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company for close to fifty years. His most recent poetry collection, Little Elegies for Sister Satan, from New Directions as well, was published in May of 2021.

"Magnificent: an astringent blend of surrealism and symbolism."
New York Times Book Review

"A new book of poetry by Michael Palmer is always an important event. One of our greatest living poets—he has spent a lifetime producing a challenging, radically defamiliarizing body of work of uncanny beauty and grandeur. Little Elegies for Sister Satan is a remarkable achievement."
—Norman Finkelstein, Restless Messengers

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