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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 9, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I’m obsessed with radical inclusiveness, with the idea of writing a poem that has everything in it. It’s impossible and I keep trying.”
—Kathleen Ossip

Go

It is a cube, it is red, it is mountainous,
it is a bird of fire, it is the bones of the pelvis, it is a walnut,
it is treasured. It is yellow Saturn wobbling in its orbit.
It is danger, squawking.

It is the desire to sit down with strangers in cafes
and then it is the strangers in cafés,
it is the man with the black T-shirt
labeled UNARMED CIVILIAN and it is the blind man with              him

and his painful trembling.
Always it is oxygen and more oxygen. It is the fight in you
and the fight in you dying. It is the need for water
and the water that falls from the sky.

It is desperate for a theory and it is the acts you call evil
when you know there is no evil only desperation.
It is that bravery, that arrogance, that blindness.
It is the pink morning and your smile in the pink morning.

It is a phantom and the thin neck of a tree it
is a little project called loving the world.
It is howling in the dirt it is an extravaganza.
It’s the abandoned sports bra, in the dirt beside howling you.

It’s the windchimes in the thin-necked tree and
it is tonguetied. It is asleep.
It is waking up now. It is a small cat on the bed.
It is the threads of a leaf and it is the Three Graces:

Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer.
It is their heartfelt advice:
You can’t let it hurt you.
You must let it hurt you.

It is a careless error and the hotel pool blue with chemistry.
It’s a kiss of course it is a kiss.
It’s an old strange book newly acquired
but not yet catalogued, it is crazy.

It is you, crazy with honesty and crazy with ambition.
It’s the sun that stuns over and over again.
It’s your tablet, which is every tablet everywhere.
It’s an explosion it is every explosion everywhere.

It is pavement, mineral and hot and wet with droplets.
It’s the stars that pitch white needles into the pond.
It is provable, it is a lotion, it is a lie.
It is a baby because everyone is a baby.

It talks to you, always to you, it moves
swiftly, it is stuck, it moves swiftly, it is stuck, it moves
swiftly. It’s the impenetrable truth, now clear as ice.
It is serious, it is irreversible, it is going, going.

It is flying now laughing strong enough to know anything.
 

Copyright © 2016 by Kathleen Ossip. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 9, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Kathleen Ossip. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 9, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kathleen Ossip

Kathleen Ossip

Kathleen Ossip is the author of The Do-Over (Sarabande Books, 2015).

by this poet

poem
                                             Craft is a synthesis: thought in the service of
                                             understanding. Think hard in order to open to
                                             understanding: that is craft


K. was hungrily made.

K. is an American creation.

K
poem

To my left,
you, in the driver’s seat.
Chlorophyll, to my right,

through the windowglass, green tipping
to black, tipping to gold, shivering.
Green hills, further on, shading

to blue. Fuzzed slopes, lovable, rolling down down.
Awkward weeds, sprigged, not wheat and won’t feed

2
poem

To dream of your ardor
is much joy and much happiness.
Your ardor tells me that
I am making a mistake
by not taking hold of what
is offered to me.

What I mean when I say
“your ardor” is stenciled on
the air that surrounds
your big face. The force
of your ardor