August 11, 2008

13 WAYS (more or less)

               After Wallace Stevens

The poet seeks the desert
     for its rare oasis;
seeks the company
of the bushman
     for his water knowledge.

The poet’s soul
     is an old, slow camera.

The liver
     is a liver-shaped organ;
The poet’s song
     is a song-shaped essence.

The planet implodes at zero hour;
The poet’s eyes close — open.

The poet, like the bishop,
Is a courier of insight
     Always moving obliquely

On the road to Damascus,
the wrathful believer
meets the poet
     and becomes him.

Reaching into the wretch’s gut,
     the poet pulls out rubies.

A saint and a scoundrel are one;
a saint and a scoundrel and a poet
     are one.

In the bog’s brown dark,
     the poet sees a thousand colors.

The poet is a company of actors
     all in one costume.

The poet, like truth,
     is a vagrant entity —
     a mutable subject.

The sage rides by,
     whipping his camel;
the poet savors the attendant stinks.

The poet approaches me
     with my face in his eyes.

The guests are assembled
     in the library;
only the poet
     knows who done it.

Looking up
at a vacant sky,
the poet points to the bird —
     marvels at its subtle markings.

All other options exhausted,
the poet releases
     a shrapnel of songbirds.

—Maggie Morley

Posted by dwaber at August 11, 2008 03:06 PM