It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
of what is found there.
I can't imagine Williams could have forseen our current economic clime when he published this poem in the mid-fifties. He, along with everyone else, had their own concerns ("The bomb speaks." Enough said).
But this week I've been thinking about these lines while obsessively channel-flipping through the cable news networks. Each time I see a group of suits huddled behind a mic, telling me what I do and don't need, I think - these guys should pick up a book of poems. Specifically, these guys should read Denise Duhamel's crisp new collection, Ka-Ching!
I own all of Duhamel's books, and I've typically read them like I do a fine novella: from start to finish in one sitting. Her poems are hard to put down. I'm always wondering, "What's next? What now?"
I think it's because, like a skilled novelist, she's got a masterful sense of pace. Duhamel knows how to open in media res, with just the right portions of verve and speed, as she does with "play money," a sequence of ten prose poems she literally wrote on the back of the bills found in a board game ($100k through $1 million, to be exact). The suite reads as a memoir about growing up and family and the objects we value while we stumble through to adulthood: a set of custom pencils or chocolate coins wrapped in foil. When money is tight, or non-existent, the small stuff matters.
There's wit and games here, but also more. Duhamel uses her bright mind to address painful subjects -the anxiety of unemployment, a parent's failing health, the specter of weapons and war. It's all flashing across our televisions and newspapers every day, yet somehow she manages to wrap these fears in a sprightly language that offers hope. I'm always ready for some of that.
Here's a poem from Ka-ching!
It isn’t Wednesday and now it isn’t Thursday either. Let’s call it Friday. Things got away from me. You think I was on a deadine? I was with the Dolly Llama.
So it’s not even Lincoln’s birthday anymore, but you know, I wanted to say a few words and those words are these. Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address says, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” It is my longstanding contention that “We Will Never Forget” means “It is Heartbreaking that We Will So Soon Forget".
Now consider please Shakespeare’s sonnet that begins: “"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? ” (to which happenstancily, we referred last week}. He answers his own question, in paraphrase: You are prettier and calmer and you linger longer than a summer day, also sometimes the sun is too hot in summer and sometimes it is cloudy and cold, and everything beautiful is eventually ruined, whether by accident or just naturally, by the passage of time:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
This Sonnet, 18, is the turn in the mood of the sonnets, from friendship with a fair youth (maybe William Herbert 3rd Earl of Pembrook, who was a cutie and looked good in tights), to something a lot hotter. (Everybody swung both ways, that's just the way they made the mental hinges back then.)
Posted by Jennifer Michael Hecht on February 13, 2009 at 03:31 PM in Jennifer Michael Hecht, The Lion and the Honeycomb | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
I've been pretty smitten with chapbooks as of late. They are, for the most part, so lovely to look at, so meaty to hold. I especially admire all the effort put into the original artwork, the linen covers, the pages layed out at night on living room computers. Fonts with names like spells or the creatures who cast them: Garamond, Trebuchet, Zapf Humanist, and Medusa. I love how chapbooks are stapled/glued/stitched together, or how POD services have gifted the littlest of presses with the power to put more chaps out into the world. Good, I say. We need them.
In his blog at Pecan Grove Press, Palmer Hall describes the best of chapbooks as "excellent short stories or like a one-person art exhibit at which each painting informs the next and the one before." I also like to think of them as a rocking E.P., something your favorite band might put out between full length records just so you can hear what they're up to.
In his survey on chapbook history, Noah Eli Gordon says the term chapbook most likely came from the rogue peddlers that sold them (and sundry bits) while travelling through towns in the 16th through 19th centuries. Chapmen could frequently be found "bedding in barns, fleeing from dogs, and fending off thefts from other road scoundrels. Yet the visit of a chapman to a rural village, though tinged with suspicion, was a welcome occasion, as he provided many with their sole link to the rest of world, both in his wares and his gossip, a kind of Johnny Appleseed of early literary education."
Here's a list of chapbooks well worth the read. If anyone has their own picks they'd like to share, please post them.
I Give You this Ghost, by Jesse Millner. Pudding House Publications
Bud Break at Mango House, by Jen Karetnick. Portlandia Group
Once upon many a time
A man loved a woman
A woman loved a man
A man and a woman
The ones who loved them
Once upon many a time.
Once and maybe only once
A man and a woman
Loved each other.
-– Robert Desnos (1900-1945)
(trans. from the French by David Lehman)
The first thing one carries is the official AWP tote bag, to be used for carrying things; it comes with a very hefty official guide to the conference that is some 341 pages long on thick glossy paper. One uses this to locate panels and readings, to meditate upon the names listed in the index (people to find, people to avoid, people who vaguely ring a bell, people you didn't know were even still around, and so on) - and to induce a kind of shoulder ailment unique to conferences of this kind about which more in due course. The bag also includes a featherweight reduction of the guide to a folded map; beware: many vendors at the book fair are filed under "T" for the word "The." Was there a pen in the bag? No matter: you will never want for a writing implement at the AWP!
On this first full day, herewith the contents of my own bag. Your contents will, like mileage, vary:
A rubber ducky key chain from... please forgive me for not recollecting the source for this useful and charming object!
Craig Arnold's new book, which I carried around all day because I'm seeing lots of Craig Arnold... and haven't the nerve to ask him to sign it.
A lovely gift bag from Kim Addonizio that includes a small Hershey bar, a cool CD called "Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing," which accurately describes most of what is accomplished at AWPs.
A postcard presented to me by Jamey Hecht describing his new book of poems about the (in)famous Zapruder film.
A very lovely poem by Christine Rhein from her book, Wild Flight, and a postcard with a nice note about a blog post I'd done recently on the subject of marginalia! I'm not sure why, but the paper on which the poem is typed has a really appealing scent to it which helped make my day.
A pen from Oxford Journals (see above, relating to writing implements!) - they have the best pens. They also have cool little notepads that look like tiny issues of Literary Imagination, except for the blank pages within; full disclosure: I edited this journal for several months.
A pencil sharpener from the International Writers Workshop, which looks like a bottlecap.
A new toothbrush, and a sampler of floss. OK, I went to the dentist yesterday, and didn't get this at the conference!
Several books of poetry I bought at the book fair - it's like being in a dreamworld bookstore to see all kinds of new poetry books in one place like this. Bookworm impulse buying!
A packet of olives from Greece presented to me by Alicia Stallings after our panel together which ranks as one of the coolest gifts I have ever received.
An official (I'm beginning to realize that everything is official, not just verse culture) Hilton Hotel pad with indecipherable notes relating to people whose cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses I have jotted down... data about events I fantasize being able to attend... and someone's room number - I can't for anything remember whose, I'm sorry to admit.
Assorted pencils I collected without knowing quite why. A lot of blue plastic pens. Oversized Life Savers, which reminded me briefly and lyrically of Hart Crane's father.
Three business cards of people who asked me for one in return, but who I had to disappoint because I never remember that I have some in my desk at work.
Etc. You get the idea.
I wonder if anyone might like to list in the comments to this post what they've been carrying around all day. It would be nice for someone to carry on this thread, because my shoulder hurts from lugging all this stuff around. But I'm not complaining or being smug. I feel extremely lucky to see these things, to have them, to have spoken with the folks who brought them to Chicago to give them out as a way of showing how much they believe in what they're doing. It's a little like Halloween: I'm going to empty out my bag and go out soon to get some more of this writerly candy. What it all means, I can't quite say - but months from now I'll stumble upon some of this fascinating effluvia and it will remind me of all the folks I've spent the day meeting.
Blake besides the fact that I have published you in MiPOesias. OCHO, O&S and also painted your portrait, why do you think I picked you out of a select few poets to interview here at the BAP blog?
Hi Didi, that is a good question, and one that crossed my mind for asking you. You are a nice person, and maybe you are interested in talking about a person who would likely not have been in this forum otherwise? I am often not as active in the public-affirmed 'poetry' spheres. I probably don't think of myself as a poet, though I do think that my writing, prose or otherwise, is more concerned with the concerns of poetry than of prose: that being language and syntax over story. Whatever your reason, I am very happy to be given such an opportunity. Hopefully I won't make a mess: or maybe you invited me for my tendency to make text messes? It's my favorite form. :)
Well yes mostly the reasons you mention but mostly there is one reason which you did not mention and that is that you too are a publisher/editor and in my opinion your publications feature some of the hottest new voices out there right now - writers that otherwise may not be noticed at all if you had not selected their work. You are doing crazy things with words Blake Butler. What do you look for when you read a submission?
That is a high compliment, Didi. I feel really blessed everyday to be surrounded by people who I think truly are making the new word. I consider it an honor of the highest order to be allowed to help spread these voices and these minds, and that you think I am doing a reasonably respectable job is wonderful to hear.
When I read, I think I am looking to hear something I hadn't expected to be said: most often in the way of the saying, but also in the gel of it. I want to have my cheeks ripped off my face simply by reading words. That might sound like an extreme, but I meant that: my face is the survivor of many hundreds of face-scrapings by those words that get into the flesh. As a more general and palpably applicable guideline, I look for sentences that seem cut out of sleep cloth: that operate on logic not necessarily of the supposed 'everyday' as defined by traditional narrative fiction and verse, but in the translucent and bizarre fabric of how most days seem, in sleeping and outside it, indescribable in tact and tone. Many of those texts that are supposedly documenting 'what it is to be human' or 'what is love' to me are as far gone as sitcom TV from what breathing and eating and walking around really feels like in skin, at least to me.
I also like to laugh, cringe, stutter, feel disoriented, wonder if I am not still sleeping, and even be left completely befuddled. If you can confused me in a way that feels incantatory, I consider that a win.
So you do not have problems seeking out these writers that make your face expand and wrap around your head? They just fall on your lap? On another note, you also seem to be active online with your blog (blakebutler.blogspot.com) and other blogs (html giant) plus you review for Book Slut, New Pages and others plus you are submitting your own work and have been published widely. I think your own poetry has appeared in more journals than Lyn Lifshin's. Would you say that to be successful as a publisher/editor/writer online that you need to have an enourmous amount of inspired energy or just possibly be a little on the manic side? In some areas you remind me of someone I know. Please expand on this.
At the AWP conference, in full swing today, there are two types of people in abundance: those who are walking around - browsing the book fair, looking at other people's name tags in the corridors of the Hilton, wandering around Michigan Ave. in search of a place to eat (suggestion: remove your name tag) - and those who are sitting at book fair booths (really just tables of varying proportions) or attending panels. For various reasons, I lean toward the sitting, myself - partly because I'm obliged by certain duties to sit in certain places, partly because I'm a poetry potato (sits, reads), partly because you have to walk a lot in Chicago to go anywhere and I'm tired all the time. I therefore feel pretty knowledgeable about being seated.
And it looks as if I'm not alone. There's been quite a bit of interest lately in writers' desks... where writers sit, and sit, and sit.
Well what about their sofas? Check out this news story:
Annika is a very interesting young woman. Born in Ireland, she lived in Sweden till a teenager, then moved with her family to Texas where she entered Southern Methodist University at age 15. She has an undergraduate degree in biology, and has also worked in technology -- and last but not least, in the funeral industry! That's why I invited her for a chat about my plan for financial salvation.
From "My Childhood Home I See Again"
But here's an object more of dread
Than ought the grave contains--
A human form with reason fled,
While wretched life remains.
Poor Matthew! Once of genius bright,
A fortune-favored child--
Now locked for aye, in mental night,
A haggard mad-man wild.
Poor Matthew! I have ne'er forgot,
When first, with maddened will,
Yourself you maimed, your father fought,
And mother strove to kill;
When terror spread, and neighbors ran, How then you strove and shrieked aloud, And begged, and swore, and wept and prayed And when at length, tho' drear and long, I've heard it oft, as if I dreamed, To drink it's strains, I've stole away, Air held his breath; trees, with the spell, But this is past; and nought remains,
Your dange'rous strength to bind;
And soon, a howling crazy man
Your limbs were fast confined.
Your bones and sinews bared;
And fiendish on the gazing crowd,
With burning eye-balls glared--
With maniac laught[ter?] joined--
How fearful were those signs displayed
By pangs that killed thy mind!
Time smoothed thy fiercer woes,
How plaintively thy mournful song
Upon the still night rose.
Far distant, sweet, and lone--
The funeral dirge, it ever seemed
Of reason dead and gone.
All stealthily and still,
Ere yet the rising God of day
Had streaked the Eastern hill.
Seemed sorrowing angels round,
Whose swelling tears in dew-drops fell
Upon the listening ground.
That raised thee o'er the brute.
Thy piercing shrieks, and soothing strains,
Are like, forever mute.
How then you strove and shrieked aloud,
And begged, and swore, and wept and prayed
And when at length, tho' drear and long,
I've heard it oft, as if I dreamed,
To drink it's strains, I've stole away,
Air held his breath; trees, with the spell,
But this is past; and nought remains,
Now fare thee well--more thou the cause,
Than subject now of woe.
All mental pangs, by time's kind laws,
Hast lost the power to know.
O death! Thou awe-inspiring prince,
That keepst the world in fear;
Why dost thou tear more blest ones hence,
And leave him ling'ring here?
-- Abraham Lincoln (1846)
Our sixteenth president was born today in 1809 in a log cabin in a backwoods county in Kentucky.
Hearing a poet read for the first time is like a blind date in a dark bar. You don't know who's waiting for you, but still you're there, seeking him out among the candles and bottles and smoke. Hoping for something good. Sometimes you get it.
I had a great date with a couple of nights ago with Rigoberto Gonzalez. He was featured at a poetry series in South Florida sponsored by Broward Community College and the Hannah Kahn Poetry Foundation. The room was packed. He read from his most recent and excellent book, but also from the forthcoming Black Blossoms, by Four Way Books, and even from the collection after that, The Soldier of Mictlan, which he is still writing. He also pens memoir, short stories, book reviews, blogs, children's books, and novels. He is a geyser of words and cannot be contained.
I think he must write in his sleep. I picture him at night, eyes closed and floating through the hallways of his apartment in Queens, a pencil held loosely in one hand as it moves moves moves across the pages of a spiral notebook. Some poets make you want to write, and he's one of them. While he read I made a list as a way to describe his work and what it feels like to hear it: shadow, broom, skull, hands, palms, sex, red, yellow, smoke, berries, mouth, Neruda, bats, cracks, world, enamel, carnations, death, bulk, slit, bone, Lorca, green, white, black, wheel, door, lips, tongue, crow, curtains, velvet, gothic, glass, love, web, bruise, blade, boy.
Greetings from Chicago, host of the 2009 AWP conference.
First thoughts, and not necessarily best ones:
1.) Should be AW&WP, now that the organization's official name is "The Association of Writers & Writing Programs." As an editor, I can't help but pause to ruminate upon that Berrymanesque ampersand, which very poetically links writers to writing programs. Or does it separate them... Hm. It'll always be the AWP to me.
2.) Within hailing distance from the conference hotel (lots of hailing here: fellows well met, taxicabs, etc.) I see an astonishing sight, even for downtown Chicago: a HUMMER stretch limo... that's right: a block-long limo made out of HUMMERS, which I'd erroneously thought had become uncool. The driver dashes out to run into... McDonald's, from which he fetches a small bag of... oh, junk food, I presume. Back in the cab of the limo, he passes the rain-and-grease-wilted bag back into the darkness of the long interior behind him. At first I think: some rock or rap star is maxing out inside that limo. But maybe it's one of our great poets, carbohydrate loading for the conference to come. Fun to wonder which poet it could be.
3.) Forbes magazine has just rated Chicago as the 3rd most miserable city in the nation. I suppose if anyone can calculate misery, it's folks who write about money for a living. Most Chicagoans object to that ranking. (2nd is Memphis, which is my hometown, so I think maybe Forbes may be on the right track.) Ok, the weather is miserable, public transportation is iffy and expensive, they tax everything in sight (check the sales tax on your receipts, conference visitors, lest you think I'm making a big deal out of nothing), crime is a local specialty like beef sandwiches and Vienna hot dogs (with NO ketchup, please), notorious politics... and on and surely on. Who cares? Chicago is a great place for writers, you'll see. If you leave the hotel, that is, which you must do.
4.) Already running into folks, even though the conference hasn't officially begun. A great thing about AWP is that you meet people in person whom you'd only known electronically or from their writing; Craig Arnold and I met face to face for the very first time yesterday afternoon and it was as if we'd been friends forever. We had a lovely lunch together... and then I made him sit at a table to finish a prose piece he owes me. He's being a great sport about this. The piece is perfect. AWP magic?
A Dispatch from Day 23...President's Day is right around the corner. But one President shows up every single day.
The latest incarnation of Monique Fowler’s “The Other Life”
debuted at The Cell Theater on Sunday evening.
Fowler’s play is a tribute to Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell’s
friendship, featuring Fowler (left) as Bishop and John Wojda as Lowell. The script draws from the first decade of
letters in the highly acclaimed collection "Words in Air: The Complete
Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell," (ed. Thomas
Travisano) and weaves in fragments of their poems.
If poetry is a dying art form, the letter is a relic. The letters of Bishop and Lowell frolic between gossip, visits to Pound in the hospital or to Hemingway’s
swimming pool, and personal distresses including Bishop’s battle with alcohol
While Bishop sits at Yaddo, the artists' colony, “blowing bubbles,”Lowell carries her poem, “The Armadillo” around in his wallet. Bishop reacted with cool rationality to Lowell's romantic longings. In a notable letter Lowell wrote, “I assumed that [it] would be a matter of time before I proposed and I half believed that you would accept…The possible alternatives that life allows us are very few…But asking you is the one might have been for me, the one towering change, the other life that might have been had.” While romance is always intriguing, the substance of this relationship was defined by pen and ink. The physical distance dividing Bishop and Lowell distinguished their camaraderie and even devotion, which comes through particularly well in this dramatic reading.
Reading for a Book Contest
Everyone knows it's not easy to fall in love. You can't just go out in the streets and shout, You.
You look like a nice guy. How about a turn in the sack? And expect he'll be just the right fit. A one-size-fits-all kind of guy. (There are so few out there. Have you noticed?) But that's exactly what I do. And so many things go wrong. How can I explain?
The first one I meet is one of those women who looks so
nice. How can I resist? I think.
And I've lucked out so soon.
Before I know it, she's taking me to her room, dimming the lights. I can almost taste her lips when she starts
talking without pausing for breath. She talks all night. She wants to tell me everything about her
life. (Don't you hate a woman who talks
in bed?) It's like sleeping in an
aviary, her sweet voice filling my night.
The second is a guy who has never gotten laid. But just looking at him, I know one day he'll be great. (I'm psychic about a man's future with sex.) He'll be a regular Napoleon in bed. (And it's not true what they said about Napoleon's penis, by the way.) But tonight this man is so eager, he hasn't even bothered to put his body on right. He has his hands in his eye sockets, his shoes on his ears, and a penis stuck to the back of his head. I want to shout look in the mirror for Christ's sake. But instead I admire his body parts. Oh yes, I want to say. Yes, yes, yes! But I don't.
The third is one those real poets. You know the type. Even in bed I can picture him at the podium
with his glasses and manuscript in hand.
He's the guy who thinks about having sex so much, he has theoretical
sex. And there are just so many theories
to consider. There's Hegelian sex with
its theses, antitheses, syntheses.
Pascalian sex: he had it once with an god, and it has never been the
same since. Or Plato's sex. Of course Plato never had sex. But his shadow did.
It's only when I'm ready to give up that I notice the woman in the corner wearing a plain black dress. (Why do poets always where those little black gowns with pumps and fishnets?) She has such nice legs, I think. And soon I can tell she's wearing nothing underneath. I'm slipping off her covers in hopes that she feels as good on the inside as she looks on the surface. It's always such a wonderful relief to find a winner in end. To say please and ah and mmmmm. To breathe deep and relax at last.
-- Nin Andrews
A Chat with Bob Hicok
Bob....I wanted to ask you about cars and why oh why did you change jobs?
I'd likely be out of work if I hadn't changed.
I suppose that what I really wanted to know is if you had a revelation that brought you to make this change. I mean most men do not wake up one day and decide they are going to make a living writing poetry after they already have a career in place. I was hoping that maybe the spirit of Christmas future may have shown up one day in a green 1972 Impala and taken you for a ride. Perhaps the ride of your life. Was this decision magical or was it logical?
Mogical. Combination of fate and my desire, I guess, for a change. I'd been designing dies for about fifteen years, writing poems all that time, and had published, by 2001, three books. I never thought I'd teach because i don't have a bachelors degree. then, out of the blue, or some other inhabitant of the color chart, I was offered a job as visiting poet at Western Michigan University. I took it, figuring, I don't know what — that it couldn't hurt. I basically lied to all my customers, telling each that i had too much work from other customers to take on any new jobs, so I didn't have to close my business down. I liked teaching at Western, applied for a few jobs, landed the job here at Tech, where they didn't care if I had a degree or not, and that was that. if you look at what's gone on in the auto industry, you'll understand why I feel lucky that the opportunities arose when they did. I'd likely be out of work if I hadn't gone into teaching. That's why I mention fate. I really liked the design work, but I was tired of it, tired of keeping two careers going. That kind of work requires 60+ hours a week, and I couldn't do it anymore, not both. So. Fate. Luck. Magic. I'll go with that. And logic in that I could see the end of that way of life, both for me personally and within our economy, our culture.
Do you think our culture is more in tune to poetry now or do you still get the occasional role of the eyes when you tell someone you write poetry?
(roll of the eyes?)
This week marks Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. Writing about Lincoln is a little like writing about Jesus or King Arthur - he has been so mythologized that the original shape of the man is almost obscured. But Lincoln is definitely worth unwrapping. He is a man both of his time and beyond it - formed (as we all are) by the specifics of his era and yet surprisingly contemporary in his outlook. The more you learn about him, the more interesting and appealing he becomes.
Lincoln in the 1850s
Lincoln is a writer's President if there ever was one - deeply and broadly read; finely sensitive to the implications of language; disciplined, eloquent, and powerful in his own writing. (Garry Willis' Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the Gettsyburg Address, Lincoln at Gettysburg: the Words that Remade America, traces the historical and rhetorical ideas Lincoln wove together in perhaps his most famous speech - definitely worth a read.) Lincoln also published a poem or two. The best-known is perhaps "My Childhood Home I See Again," in which the speaker describes a visit back to his birthplace and an encounter with a mentally ill inhabitant of the town. It has been used as evidence of Lincoln's deep melancholy and fascination with death, although I think the argument could be made that most poets have work that reflects this. ("Why don't you write something cheerful, for God's sake? Everything you write is so depressing!")
Dear Melissa--daughter of
Deborah, Hebrew for bee,
From dbr, linked to words for truth and word--
Whose own name glows
Translucently as honey, or the amber
Embalming that famous Baltic bee
Since fifty million years before Alexander
Tried to have his corpse preserved in honey,
Translucently as we say love
Must glow, must glue, must be,
Won’t you bee me?
Because it's all lubricity,
As slickery Emerson puts it.
Sleeping Beauty awake
Is Slipping Booty is Nudis Verbis.
Slips of the tongue
Are sips of the truth, or nips,
As your tipsy Thomas didn't doubt.
So, well, the tongue trips
Between lips, skips
To nibbles, leaps slopes,
Lopes, loops Alps,
Stoops to anything,
Sloopsmooth and slaphappy,
To hips, to lap,
And, sapping itself, lapping
Itself, licks slick
The very apsis.
But then the tongue's an asp,
An asp that lapses,
Falls to the facile,
So lisps and limps
To sleep at last.
melissa meliss ah listen to me listen new me a melamed listen a my list less meli alas than lisztian melos melis alias a lissome lass lest I be less be lost beeless a mull is a mull is a spicy thought see thought sigh and see spot spy seathoughts beethoughts with honey with moon honeymill honeymellow oenomel mell us melicious melissa
We need a dash—Dickinsonian?—of censorship--
To cut—to lace—the Yensership.
Let’s cut away. Let's have our aches and Keats them too.
We’ll bruise the sheets—and then we’ll shoot the breeze.
These rudderless ships in the sea of language,
Shuddering rips in the wake of ancient songwage,
Bees in a blow, only mean I long for you
And make what beelines I can in the way of pleas.
-- Stephen Yenser
Dear Poetry Fans,
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.