Three Poems by Mabi David

By | 31 October 2012

These poems are from an unpublished chapbook entitled Spleen.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.


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

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