poem index

Mixed Mode

Geoffrey G. O'Brien
The experience of leaving
one category for another, 
of smooth being colder
than rough and of
that December I suffer
as the experience of leaving
one category for another,
using life that way
that opens and stops
moving, done,
furtively waving
as with one month
that opens and stops
among the others,
waiting and waking
in a place which seems filled
with restrained abilities
that experience that
has never seemed to me
to arrive before night
except as the need
to want to live
and want to be dead,
using a life that way,
face first, name gone,
and coming to
among a rival's things

From Green and Gray, Copyright © 2007 by Geoffrey G. O'Brien. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Geoffrey G. O'Brien

Geoffrey G. O'Brien

by this poet

poem
An away of practice the other is
Like a river out of acts the other is
Hapless, unheard, with marks upon him
Having dallied in tarrying unwisely
Backlit at an undecidable remove
In a house of marks the other is
Useless deciding whether to go
Or wait in best practices like a child
A hapless river filled with sand
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