|Carolyn Forche||Dylan Thomas||Ai||Wallace Stevens||Gerard Manley Hopkins|
|Randall Jarrell||W.D. Snodgrass||Thomas Lux||William Matthews||From the Greek||Robert Creeley|
What you have heard is true. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck themselves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of the wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.
Comes the time when it's later and onto your table the headwaiter puts the bill, and very soon after rings out the sound of lively laughter-- Picking up change, hands like a walrus, and a face like a barndoor's, and a head without any apparent size, nothing but two eyes-- So that's you, man, or me. I make it as I can, I pick up, I go faster than they know-- Out the door, the street like a night, any night, and no one in sight, but then, well, there she is, old friend Liz-- And she opens the door of her cadillac, I step in back, and we're gone. She turns me on-- There are very huge stars, man, in the sky, and from somewhere very far off someone hands me a slice of apple pie, with a gob of white, white ice cream on top of it, and I eat it-- Slowly. And while certainly they are laughing at me, and all around me is racket of these cats not making it, I make it in my wicker basket.More Creeley
And now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth letís not speak in any language, letís stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines, we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would not look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victory with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. (Life is what it is about, I want no truck with death.) If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive. Now Iíll count up to twelve, and you keep quiet and I will go.