Monday, December 15, 2008

Pre

BEFORE

Maybe I’m done with tragedy; I can’t say how
long I’ve loved without cease fire peeling
away from the Hindenburg like skin. That
nobody knows that infamous voiceover
was really recorded days later, the film silent
before being spliced into newsreels,
I love to tell others, though I’m unsure why.
And I loved the smaller fires
a boy could imagine, feverishly plot, finally make
with thieved matches and rolls
of toilet paper, paper ripped from magazines,
rotten fruit. Once, in my hand,
a thing blew up and through all
my fingers I felt the shock shove through.
Nothing was severed, made
stumps, though my ears filled up
with what seemed was wet
silence, cotton soaked through, packed deep.
At night, now, with my ears
pressed into pillows, the night
pressing back, below or beyond
the little breaths of my love
there is a high sharpness, a ringing
that marks narrow escape.
To think of it, to see again that sea teal sky,
is to feel summer. Now,
it’s winter and all day comes
hateful rain, spattering this part
of the world with the maddening stubbornness
of weather. In bed I’m alone
no longer and even in love
some small part of my brain seeks
to nurse a disbelief. But,
maybe I am done with tragedy,
no matter how seductive its narratives all are.
Even this is a story, these words,
all this shaped air, this habit
of speaking to whatever is broken,
or once was, or might be. True
to say that none of it, none of it,
matters. Why does it seem right
to now speak of flowers?
The pallid lily, the hydrangea like foam from a wave.
I don’t know. All I care
is that we map out
with our bodies the night’s blindness. That we begin.

14 comments:

catnapping said...

To think of it, to see again that sea teal sky,
is to feel summer. Now,
it’s winter and all day comes
hateful rain, spattering this part
of the world with the maddening stubbornness
of weather. In bed I’m alone


This movement is perfect...of past from present. i could almost feel the vision of that summer pulling away.

kw said...

I first read your poetry in The Paris Review recently. I don't read alot of contemporary poetry. I was over-exposed to Billy Collins in college and subsequently turned my blinders on to many poets who weren't yet dead. You're poetry has changed that. Now I can appreciate the living. Thank you.

Paul said...

Thank you.

early hours of sky said...

Hey Paul,

Em and I wanted to say we are so very happy for you. I wish you the best of married life. Be kind to each other. Love is good for poetry....

Take care and tell Tom I said hi when you read with him. He is a great guy and you two should get along well.

ScottVN said...

absolutely magical! I'm still pondering the image of the "cease fire peeling away from the Hindenberg like skin"... I love (or the part of me that is addicted to tragedy) the anecdote about the Hindenberg's overdub, but are you really unsure why you love to tell others of this? it seems like your poem does work toward revealing the why.. I like how your poems seem a process of discovery, in a very honest, self-conscious way.
I love...
"my ears filled up with what seemed was wet silence" and
"even this is a story, these words, all this shaped air"-- lovely lovely lovely. thank you.

Peter Joseph Gloviczki said...

As eliot would say, this is very not bad. Happy New Year, Paul!

goooooood girl said...

i like your blog......

fredwrite said...

I just found you in River Styx. Your poem "Loyalty Oath" hit all the right notes with me. I'm going to follow this blog. You've found a way to cut through the noise.

Anonymous said...

i really like your blog.. concerning tragedy.. with out it there would be a lack of boon! and together, to realize how alone it really is,, piles up and melts ground.

make sense?

Anonymous said...

Paul--I just think it's so neat that I actually know (well, sort of, in an acquaintance-kinda-way) one of my favorite poets. What kw said...I can hardly read contemporary poetry anymore. but yours...wow.

Jackie B.

Me said...

where are youuuu??

The Storialist said...

I really loved this, especially the powerful opening!

catnapping said...

Okay. I admit it - I'm enamoured. I'm a fan. Your blog's been in my sidebar a long time, and I check here all the time for new entries...

So, yeah. I am missing the hell outta you. I hope everything's okay.

Keith said...

You alive, brother?