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About this Poem 

“I’ve been thinking about thinking, about the morality of thought, and how exactly everything boils down to perspective. We kissed. We grew apart. We died. We ate a salad. The air, the light, they shifted. All of this exists in the body, is felt in the body, yet we use the mind to name it, to make language that connects us through spoken thought. Here is my version. Here is yours. I want to think my way toward you, not away from you. Maybe that’s what this poem is for.”
Emily Kendal Frey

Noetics

You might think you are not thinking, but you are.

A thought moves from dirt up through me and if I do not
    disabuse it, it grows.

To suffer, to bear from below.

Coming down the mountain I could see a reservoir through the
    trees, fat and glowing.

You are alone in your one life and no one will enter your
    dreams.

Teenagers sit on the sign outside the nunnery.

We are so afraid of failing we can't live.

So we leave apartments, not breathing, breathe on the way
    home.

The potential is not the actual.

I was not a good skateboarder.

As we allow for suffering, we live.

You took a picture of me at sunset, thighs drying roses against
    an orange sky.

“This alone is deathless and everlasting”

In the dark we know one another finally.

I can be as you as I am.

“The mind-body problem”

You did things to block out the light.

Yes, another reference to morning.

When I am feeding myself I hate myself.

I was younger and not planning on dying.

In the forest between trees we dismantle thought.

Bed of summer branches, us gently.

“Much learning does not teach the mind”

And, walking across the road to the post office, able to see the
    ocean.

You: I googled “If you postpone love will it not end?”

To feel you have to exit the body.

To use a higher mind is to be part of the cosmos.

Then she lowered her voice to a rasp and told those assembled
    a secret.

There are no edges.

Waiting on the patio with whiskey, girl, they said, he’s not
    coming.

The ethical implications of thinking.

In order to understand nature do we have to die?

Affixed to us driving the road to a mountain lake.

One must stay diligent to avoid becoming a symbol.

Let us bow down and never leave the island.

Me: “Did you think my angry phase would end?”

A day, a peeling scrim.

The moon looks into our lion mouths.

The mind’s hedge in an empty neighborhood.

If god is reason the mind is dead.

Ornate Senate of Loss, Call Me Forth to Announce Myself as
    Infinite Mystery.

You’ll use what I taught you to manipulate others.

This gives me sad pleasure.

Orange rose.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Emily Kendal Frey. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 5, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Emily Kendal Frey. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 5, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Emily Kendal Frey

Emily Kendal Frey

Emily Kendal Frey is the author of Sorrow Arrow (Octopus Books, 2014). She teaches at The Independent Publishing Resource Center, Marylhurst University, Portland Community College, and Portland State University. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

by this poet

poem

In California we went to the dive bar and I lost my wallet
 
I remember falling into it

And maybe kissing against someone’s garage
 
I fell on city sidewalks

In California and other places

The trees looked at me tenderly

I’m guessing
poem
What if everything 
were revealed: where I was
last night. You, etc. The rain
is coming down like salad.
My sister's hair
reminds me of my sister
so much I can't 
stop looking. Who am I
to have arms? On the plane
one short dream:
a baby so small
it wasn't even human,
just a bouquet 
of light with wise
cellular