These poems are from an unpublished chapbook entitled Spleen. The poems in my two previous books have been called ‘detached’ and ‘objective.’ Thus, when I wrote these poems, I wanted to have it out with strong emotions and to explore (if not come to terms with) this seeming unease with overt sentiment. I also wondered if dropping one’s guard has a place in poetry. Two opposing forces animate the poems in the collection: a sitting figure and the wind. I am usually interested in historical subject formation in poetry, and Spleen is a clear departure from that. But I enjoyed writing these poems nonetheless.
Sitting Poem, 18 Blinding light, cold wind even in summer. The lake below is still: polish of cut glass, silver nourish of indifference. I have come here to sit and wait all day, years, sentinel to any sly arrival. Not scratching, not hungry nor succumbing, not feeling, not bereft, not longing, not moving. Air and sun pressing against strain. The hot sheet of noon shivering into afternoons. The world turning white; no horizon. Breeze catching voices from afar chastens by subtle reminders. O that my life may not always be this. More time, looming shadows. Dusk darkly yielding another setting, disfiguring a landscape I’ve come to know, here stooping, here gloaming, here indigo.
Toy And because I’d gone ahead and done the unthinkable, I want to know what else I won’t ever do. I go ahead and do that too. I think of a thing or two the mere thought of which makes me retch: I do it. And do it until the idea of me and my turns silly, toy, being built a certain way has little truth, until I get to the bottom of where I came undone and keep at it until the hurt it gives gets good and the good I give gets animal.
Night Breeze It is the swell of hours entering, slow It is the fumble of warm breath and blur Particularless interiors, sung equations, The soul shimmying into a cathedral