(A Open Letter To The Poet Emma Aylor.)
“Loudly my lordly moralizers spoke.
Calling me from my sleep, yet still in my dreaming.”
—David Ferry, Learning from History
You have to write, because these things are beautiful, and they remain so.
I kneel in the red water, reach through to the red clay.
The moon’s soft reflection in a Ball jar. Remember that honeysuckle on the wee-ind?
I knead up a little lump of clay, sump’m just above the water.
You will, and you will speak of the cousin they took away, and the new bread.
I fight the loosening flow to build jus a tiny island above it.
The bitter “Oregin” on your tongue, when you know “O-ray-gawn,” oh, whisper.
I want cold; home rain’s too damn warm n jus taps my shoulders.
It will seem gone clean out of you. Then you smell the warm earth, eat salt ham, yes.
I cannot heal the past. O, lump I raise, may a Black foot down ya.
The moon come to see your hands translucent, blue veins. Take not up our burdens.
I lef a dead lump ‘a red mud, I r’eng’, an’ a handful of nails.
How ‘bout the big Freemont Troll sculpture under that bridge in Seattle? Thoughtful.
My way of tawkin was on TV! Mayberry and Hee Haw, I’d scream.
The air trapped inside the sculpture’s hollow concrete, like prehistoric amber.
My cheek hit that cold playground blacktop. So I speak differ’nt.
You can poke and poke on a glass eye and never blind it.
My old, cheap-shiny belt-buckle of crossed stars, such a thin boy.
Everybody’s got superstitions; driving or submitting poems, or baseball, or planting.
My knowledge of green mantis, burning wasps, ladybugs, thyme.
Moon, rising fireflies, cicada song. Bob-white, can you make him whistle back? Soon?
My prayers are heard. That’s their answer. An echo by the crick.
But the moonlight glints off that troll’s hubcap eye and the captured VW alike.
My voice will not be the last one that you hear. May it not.
Thing is: poetry wars with itself between signing visual and speaking dramatic.
See to it that it does.
War is something more essential than is polite to say: war, loudly barking, shut up!
See how the melancholy is baked into the words.
Screaming “us!” at Monster Trucks and mudders, screaming “us!” at the Superbowl.
See the man-and-man wedding as a joke to raise football money.
Difference engine, parting calculus, blown past the straw hat, the care-soft clothes.
See the things we bury, and the things we cain’t.
Steel and sinew, Wendell Berry chuffing along, if you call the tractor by his name.
See the rows of corn that don’t know the keeper, long away.
They are fidgety that they sound the same. Apart from their apartness. Seminars.
See the scrapes on the moon from the blackberry thorns.
I’m looking at you rise. Hey, Moon.