poem index

Identity, Self, & Perception 223

Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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Red Bank
Lesle Lewis
I wanted a horse.  

I jumped from a plane.  

I was not comfortable with your illness.  

I was a detective at the wedding.  

I recognized the new way it would be with you in rehabilitation.  

I saw how the sunset colors on the Navesink River got sad with the lone rower.

I lived on a lone planet with my befuddlement. 

I'd lost a person.  

I didn't know how to hold my lips.  

I was like the goose bathing in parking lot puddles.  

Definitely, I am on a train.  
Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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Compulsively Allergic to the Truth
Jeffrey McDaniel
I'm sorry I was late.
I was pulled over by a cop
for driving blindfolded
with a raspberry-scented candle
flickering in my mouth.
I'm sorry I was late.
I was on my way
when I felt a plot
thickening in my arm.
I have a fear of heights.
Luckily the Earth
is on the second floor
of the universe.
I am not the egg man.
I am the owl
who just witnessed
another tree fall over
in the forest of your life.
I am your father
shaking his head
at the thought of you.
I am his words dissolving
in your mind like footprints
in a rainstorm.
I am a long-legged martini.
I am feeding olives
to the bull inside you.
I am decorating
your labyrinth,
tacking up snapshots
of all the people
who've gotten lost
in your corridors.
Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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I Might Have Dreamed This
Kirsten Dierking
For a short time after
the rape, I found I could

move things. Energy birds
swarmed from my brain.

With a witch's sense
of abandoned physics,

I set dolls rolling.
Back and forth. Like a

breathing sound.

Using only my night-powered
eyes, I pushed the lamp

to the dresser's edge.
I buried the mirrors

in avalanches of freshly
laundered underpants.

I never slept.

I did all these things
lying down.
Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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it was a dream
Lucille Clifton, 1936 - 2010
in which my greater self
rose up before me
accusing me of my life
with her extra finger
whirling in a gyre of rage
at what my days had come to.
what, 
i pleaded with her, could i do,
oh what could i have done?
and she twisted her wild hair
and sparked her wild eyes
and screamed as long as
i could hear her
This.  This.  This.
Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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Peyote Poem [excerpt]
Michael McClure

Clear — the senses bright — sitting in the black chair — Rocker —
the white walls reflecting the color of clouds
moving over the sun. Intimacies! The rooms

not important — but like divisions of all space
of all hideousness and beauty. I hear
the music of myself and write it down

for no one to read. I pass fantasies as they
sing to me with Circe-Voices. I visit
among the peoples of myself and know all
I need to know.

I KNOW EVERYTHING! I PASS INTO THE ROOM

there is a golden bed radiating all light

the air is full of silver hangings and sheathes

I smile to myself. I know

all that there is to know. I see all there

is to feel. I am friendly with the ache
in my belly. The answer

to love is my voice. There is no Time!
No answers. The answer to feeling is my feeling.

The answer to joy is joy without feeling.
The room is a multicolored cherub
of air and bright colors. The pain in my stomach
is warm and tender. I am smiling. The pain
is many pointed, without anguish.

Light changes the room from yellows to violet!

The dark brown space behind the door is precious
intimate, silent and still. The birthplace
of Brahms. I know

all that I need to know. There is no hurry.

I read the meanings of scratched walls and cracked ceilings.

I am separate. I close my eyes in divinity and pain.

I blink in solemnity and unsolemn joy.

I smile at myself in my movements. Walking
I step higher in carefulness. I fill

space with myself. I see the secret and distinct
patterns of smoke from my mouth

I am without care part of all. Distinct.
I am separate from gloom and beauty. I see all.

Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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Gic to Har
Kenneth Rexroth, 1905 - 1982
It is late at night, cold and damp
The air is filled with tobacco smoke.
My brain is worried and tired.
I pick up the encyclopedia,
The volume GIC to HAR,
It seems I have read everything in it,
So many other nights like this.
I sit staring empty-headed at the article Grosbeak,
Listening to the long rattle and pound
Of freight cars and switch engines in the distance.
Suddenly I remember
Coming home from swimming
In Ten Mile Creek,
Over the long moraine in the early summer evening,
My hair wet, smelling of waterweeds and mud.
I remember a sycamore in front of a ruined farmhouse,
And instantly and clearly the revelation
Of a song of incredible purity and joy,
My first rose-breasted grosbeak,
Facing the low sun, his body
Suffused with light.
I was motionless and cold in the hot evening
Until he flew away, and I went on knowing
In my twelfth year one of the great things
Of my life had happened.
Thirty factories empty their refuse in the creek.
On the parched lawns are starlings, alien and aggressive.
And I am on the other side of the continent
Ten years in an unfriendly city.
Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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After tagging the dust your body is made of
Jen Tynes
                After tagging the dust your body is made of 
		


                sheets flash ceremoniously on the line, in



                the rain, I am a bone and I take a bone's



                pleasure around the ball joint, shading



                inside the names. When I pass your body in



                the hallway the illumination gives us three



                minutes of standing adjacent to the fetish 



                dying. Electricity changes, there is no body



                to acknowledge through touch, I fling forward



                past my desires into the formal living room



                with its collection of bells and its collection



                of jaw bones. The sparkling line runs across



                my statement of purpose. To endanger all



                sense, I lay the body out of its own range 



                of prediction. Token animal, what you know



                is circling the house, waiting for the first person



                or its shadow to appear. Without looking



                forward to sinking through the body, I am 



                still mostly lover position. Place the bone



                in the window spider plant and beacon.
Identity, Self, & Perception 223
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Speedway
Cedar Sigo
I cut out the "Heart with Snowflake"
Myself but it is not mine, Forget
This bloody coat bloody shirt, I
Think it is the writing that makes
Me sick, The scores and scores of
Incidental music, this nosebleed all
Spring all wet, I'm positively angry
with the Impertinence of it! I'm
Sewing up the kinks in this film, I'm
Trying to! I'm trying to burn a light
Between, There's a light and I cable
my voice on it but it rips when I trace
Anything! WORKS ON PAPER, THE SHIP
OF DEATH "Oh build it!" Sings the 
Heart, "My coat would be so bloodied
I could wiggle out of my coat!"


                         – for John Wieners