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The Flagstad Recording

Geoffrey G. O'Brien
Control has been candied and exchanged
So many times it feels like the night 
Of the day, a troubled ride through 
A beginning whose motor announces
It's still the mild guardian 
Of a human bird we don't yet hear.
She needs no protection nor exists
Except as a set of performances,
Notes mistaken for an identity
In sequence, much as we take quiet
Sounds to be an index of their distance
From the only place that matters.
This is not description but paraphrase
The voice does as contradictions, 
New but old, certainly uncertain
About the decision to wear white
Though it's long after Labor Day.
In fact it's that other day in September
Never fully over inside the strings,
And this isn't time, more like the world
Premiere of an anticipation 
Of an accompaniment that isn't 
Paraphrase so much as the last
Chance at exhausted debut.

Copyright © 2012 by Geoffrey G. O'Brien. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2012 by Geoffrey G. O'Brien. Used with permission of the author.

Geoffrey G. O'Brien

Geoffrey G. O'Brien

by this poet

poem
What follows is terms and classifications, the West 
Of speech congratulating itself within
A system so complex there's no way not to be 
Effective. Just as they had planned the streets
On either side are lined with all that's needed,
Storefronts whose glass returns a look 
Filled with the contents it displays
(
poem
The winter, it was the winter all
the usual things happened,
I have forgotten what
would travel from the north
as a series seen from above
or from below, and the followers,
the flowers, I tore them up
the next summer, or rather
before or immediately after
and thought no more about it.
But then the summer, plans
poem

To remember people in the act
Of speaking is to love them
And not the turquoise substrate
Redon supposed was all there was
To vases, any container, the vessel
Objects are. To remember
People in the act of speaking
Is to love them, but not for anything
They say. An open mouth