Of Being Numerous, 13

George Oppen

          unable to begin
At the beginning, the fortunate
Find everything already here. They are shoppers,
Choosers, judges; . . . And here the brutal
is without issue, a dead end.
                                          They develop
Argument in order to speak, they become
unreal, unreal, life loses
solidity, loses extent, baseball's their game
because baseball is not a game
but an argument and difference of opinion
makes the horse races. They are ghosts that endanger
One's soul. There is change
In an air
That smells stale, they will come to the end
Of an era
First of all peoples
And one may honorably keep
His distance
If he can.
From New Collected Poems. Copyright 2002 by Linda Oppen. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Poems by This Author

Discrete Series by George Oppen
If It All Went Up in Smoke by George Oppen
that smoke
Image of the Engine by George Oppen
Leviathan by George Oppen
Truth also is the pursuit of it
Myself I Sing by George Oppen
Me! he says, hand on his chest
Of Being Numerous, 12 by George Oppen
'In these explanations it is presumed that an experiencing
Of Being Numerous, 15 by George Oppen
Chorus (androgynous): 'Find me
Of Being Numerous, 24 by George Oppen
In this nation
Of Being Numerous, 32 by George Oppen
Only that it should be beautiful
Of Being Numerous, 33 by George Oppen
Which is ours, which is ourselves,
Of Being Numerous, 40 by George Oppen
The capitol grows upon one in time
Psalm by George Oppen
In the small beauty of the forest
Semite by George Oppen
what art and anti-art to lead us by the sharpness
Street by George Oppen
The Forms of Love by George Oppen
Parked in the fields
Who Shall Doubt by George Oppen
consciousness / in itself