poem index

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

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 3, 2016.
About this Poem 

“Small as it is, this poem deals with the continually fleeting and bewildering conditions of desire, fulfillment, ambition, guilt, and happiness. There’s some ambiguity in the ending, which can be read as both the lack of a direction or the direction of that which is lacking. Sometimes poets get to have their cake and eat it too.”
—Noah Eli Gordon

Cake

Look, you
want it
you devour it
and then, then
good as it was
you realize
it wasn’t
what you
exactly
wanted
what you
wanted
exactly was
wanting

Copyright © 2016 by Noah Eli Gordon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Noah Eli Gordon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Noah Eli Gordon

Noah Eli Gordon

Noah Eli Gordon is the author of Is That the Sound of a Piano Coming from Several Houses Down (Solid Objects, 2018).

by this poet

poem
I'd give you another day dizzy 
in its bracket for the reluctant circumference 
of a sad sad satellite's antiquated orbital stoppage.
You can't jump with a lead foot, can't 
anthropomorphize insect anticipation, can't 
pixelate postcard nostalgia, can't 
trace a boy's tiny hand and call him
king of anything that
poem
To say sleep works by accumulation is to disregard the
weather in my head.

It makes a genius of the pillow, an apt anthropomorphic
redundancy.

When the story stumbles into its fearless costume &
everyone at the edge of the woods is worried their waiting-
room bravado won't open to anything but the same
poem
Cloudless sky, a tendril root, a chord begun
     as unfolding duration & one’s lost words,
a red lexicon, an empty definition

gathering its discourse—the flow from content
     to perception: language is a translation of grace.
Say the body, say the heart, a composition in blue,

the passing energy, cell,