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Academy of American Poets Summer Series. Recorded at the New York Public Library, August 5, 2014.

About this poet

Bianca Stone is the author of The Mobius Strip Club of Grief, forthcoming in February 2018 from Tin House Books, and Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson. She runs the Ruth Stone Foundation in Vermont and New York City. 

Reading a Science Article on the Airplane to JFK

Today I flew over the Midwest
filling out a questionnaire
on the emotional life of the brain
and personal capacity for resilience
against despair. I was making
a sculpture of my limbic systems
in a huge conceptual neurosis.
Under the simulated
middleclass environment
of the fuselage
the snow was falling.
And in everyone’s skulls
complex régimes went on and on and on.
I seek forever the right way to know this.
That there are bridges
not built in me. That there are areas
that do not light up—
You are at a party having a conversation
with an interesting stranger.
You are in a restaurant and the service is bad.
You have experienced profound grief—
how do you react to this?
Down on the ground your family
writhes. Down on the ground
you are surrounded at Starbucks
with a terrible glow.
And you have seen someone you love,
with a colossal
complex vehemence, die.
And it is pinned under glass
in perfect condition.
It is wrapped around you
like old fur. You’ve looked at the sky
until your eyes touched
zodiacal fantasies—right there in the void.
You know this. That the body lays down
while the mind bloats
on intellectual chaos.
And you have just eaten
a bag of cinnamon-flavored chips
and assessed that if you met
a wonderful new person
who ran from you in horror
you would fill their space
with calculated desolation.
Thus, you are waking up
having traveled through time.
You are looking down
at the Statue of Liberty
garden gnome with her arm in the air,
her head full of strangers—
And you hear crickets. Lined up.
Playing their creepy violins.
And you want to be good.
And you want to be liked.
And you want to recover.

From Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014) by Bianca Stone. Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone. Used with permission of the author.

From Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014) by Bianca Stone. Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone. Used with permission of the author.

Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson. 

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