Saturday, March 05, 2005



Whether crushed beneath a cartoon piano,

its eclipse blossoming around you

like dusk, or, hurtling, hurled

from the hull of a speeding boat

on to the igneous shore

of the afterlife, brother Charon’s open palm

outstretched, you won’t die

the odd deaths you’ve imagined.

The banana peel won’t compose

a single elegy once you’ve

slipped. The ashes will comport

themselves poorly: what

will they retain of what you once were?

The white scar beneath

your lip, that your best lover

once lavished, that you bore

like an affliction, even so,

will become anonymous as the emptied

sky. Though you dream

each hulking sunflower

will mourn your hands,

and the golden bobs of each swollen fish

you rescued from the mall

will swear off the odor

of their food, and though

you wish for your favorite flavor

of ice cream to enter

into history with you—

none of this will happen.

In the elbow of the shallow river,

your name won’t be

said against the skin of a lover’s neck.

On postcards mailed back

to a fading home, Paris

will not seem sullen, sad without you.

And so what? Today

your hair was brushed

by a branch you didn’t duck

beneath: spring limbo,

your spine aching

at last to bend, to curve, to comma.

And today you were

offered chocolate

by a girl who began to forget

even as you turned

that you lived, that you once said yes.


Anonymous said...

You use the word so a lot in your poems. A lot. How come?

Paul said...

Who knows? I probably like the sound. You gravitate towards certain words for any number bof reasons. And I like the work it does rhetorically.

Peter said...

I like: "hurtling, hurled

from the hull of a speeding boat

on to the igneous shore

of the afterlife"

rebecca said...

"at last to bend, to curve, to comma."

lovely, lovely. it's a very lovely thing. now i must go and write a very lovely thing, also.

Paul said...

Thanks, Rebecca.

rebekah said...

i like the detached kind of visionary dreamlike tone of your poems. a lot a lot ...

just passing through ... nice work ...