Archive for January, 2011

Because New Years is over and I still feel old

January 26, 2011

Few poets describe the act of looking back on one’s own life with as much tenderness as U.S Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin. I have come across this particular poem of his several times in the past year and each time it hits me in a way that only a poet both universally human and deeply personal could affect. -Olivia

In the Winter of My Thirty-Eighth Year

BY W. S. MERWIN

It sounds unconvincing to say When I was young
Though I have long wondered what it would be like
To be me now
No older at all it seems from here
As far from myself as ever
.
Walking in fog and rain and seeing nothing
I imagine all the clocks have died in the night
Now no one is looking I could choose my age
It would be younger I suppose so I am older
It is there at hand I could take it
Except for the things I think I would do differently
They keep coming between they are what I am
They have taught me little I did not know when I was young
.
There is nothing wrong with my age now probably
It is how I have come to it
Like a thing I kept putting off as I did my youth
.
There is nothing the matter with speech
Just because it lent itself
To my uses
.
Of course there is nothing the matter with the stars
It is my emptiness among them
While they drift farther away in the invisible morning

Happy New Years!

January 4, 2011

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Wow, 20…11. The first decade of this new century, this new millennium, has officially come to a close – or, at least, it has for those of us that follow the Gregorian calendar (who knows what you other hipsters live by – I myself have always wanted to revert back to the endearingly imperfect Julian, but, alas, it’s not going to happen). Well, like I said, I don’t know about you, but it has been a long, hard decade: I graduated elementary school, had sex, got high/watched Lord of the Rings/played Halo, got drunk and moved to Brooklyn – I guess things don’t look so drawn-out (or glamorous, for that matter) in time-loop. I mean, look at it this way…we are just that much closer to Oblivion! As a consolation prize (or for your eternal torment) is this here article of P., which I versified late last year for a friend’s birthday, though which I think speaks for all anniversaries – that is, ostensibly recurring days. May all your bottoms be up!

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Anniversary

 .

……………What had happened

was split apart, pulled and turned up by the years

like hands life-lines have yet to crease,

roughening themselves in a future harvest—

what do they know of us in our days?

Roots snagged while clearing the lot,

weeds sprouting as if wanting to be pulled,

soft, pliant loam that’s good for digging,

another view askance at the untillable range.

No, not yet, though maybe another day you would

cross them; mountains, undulating like waves.

.

……………The dream of anniversary, a once

returning, recurring day, the one in which you were

born—unrememberable, as if it all were already

legend: cut free, let-go-of, else. To fear no more

the heat of a sun that threads such strands as yours

through tapestries where you will stand with others, their light,

interwoven. The time is yet far off, when these sinews

will unman your own and moss answer each epitaph

in a glacier-flow of green, proving that even your world

is, as are your hands, made out of a single tree’s bark,

respiring somewhere between air and space.

.

……………And was exhaled—for you and I

all is wake. Though the pictures we took registered

the beloved’s face, our dwellings and the mountain ranges

beyond, one after the other was blurred, or turned away,

traveling at such rates that, every time, you had to

meet their pace, synchronous, yet you always missed,

for the delay affected by this attempt to touch

across an infinite distance the shutter could never

eclipse. And all that went uncaptured—shades, fathoms,

her smile—is nevertheless only as lost as you yourself are,

setting, fading and being together forgotten.

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……………In our years it was a question

of runaway sparrows trapped in airport terminals,

small souls without countenance or name, playing

in their ends, setting our’s, all, in hopes of coming home,

trapped and free, a departure untellable from arrival.

And what day here returns that ever was, but marked

now for you by the calendar, and sung by friends:

the moment’s memorial in breath, me saying I love you,

that I will miss you, this, this all, particles paced as one.

These are the days, ours, that ever were, and drew

a circumference closed, drew across its distances: us.

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…………….

-mike