poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Born in 1963, poet Joshua Weiner is the author of three poetry collections: The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University Of Chicago Press, 2013), From the Book of Giants (University of Chicago Press, 2006), and The World's Room (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

He is the recipient of a 2002 Whiting Writer's Award and the 2003-2004 Rome Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; he has also held the Witter Bynner Fellowship at the Library of Congress and a residency fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has received an Academy of American Poets Prize, an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the Discovery/The Nation Award, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the PEN New England Discovery Award, the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation, and grants from the Illinois Arts Council.

He is professor of English at the University of Maryland and lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

 

The Not-Yet Child

Joshua Weiner
Why won't you make me now who wants a life
Inside your life?

                    I fear you as a thief
					
Stealing about the orchards of my future,
Green fruit glistening above a starving creature.

To increase the coin buried inside yourself
You need exchange it for an alien wealth.

Wealth being you? I need to spend my hoard
On public conquests of a private world:
Take drugs and chances, love recklessly, and build.

I promise I'm your most famous bright adventure.
My stanzas will collapse, mere rooms in nature. . . .

I understand: you dwell on agony,
But there you'll shape your strongest poem, me.

Your cry will play the tune ending my work
As health plays boss over the art I serve.

Not always helpless, some day I'll help you,
And you'll be grateful for what I give to you.

Fever, high blood pressure, and sleeplessness?
I've my beloved to cause me such distress,

And in my distress I find again denial--
If I'm the father how can I stay the child?

Make me, and as your face grows old
You'll find in my face your face taking hold.

That's vanity you call posterity.
Afraid the future bears what you want to see?

Of what I could become but might not be.

From The World's Room by Joshua Weiner, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Weiner. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

From The World's Room by Joshua Weiner, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Weiner. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Joshua Weiner

Joshua Weiner

Born in 1963, poet Joshua Weiner is the author of three poetry collections, including The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University Of Chicago Press, 2013).

by this poet

poem

If you are sitting in an exit row please identify yourself to a crew member to allow for reseating if you lack the ability to read, speak, or understand the language, or the graphic form, or the ability to understand oral crew commands in the language specified.

poem
When I sing to you I am alone these days 
               and can't believe it, as if the stars

--while gazing up at them--just shut off.
               Astonished:

I search out the one light, brightest light
               in the night sky, but find

I cannot find it without weaker lights to guide me
poem
What's that behind my back?
What's that gnawing behind my back?

It sounds like a dog crunching bones for marrow.
Bones here so old, the sun's dried up the marrow.
What kind of dog splinters bone like that?

Don't turn around, I hear it getting louder.
Don't turn, don't turn, its growl is getting louder.
Oh, don