Monday, September 21, 2009

the embrace - mark doty

Often, I will drive to work in the morning, while my brain is still waking and my emotions residing on the surface of my skin, a song will come on the radio compelling me to well up. I am that emotional. This poem achieves the same amount of effusiveness without the assistance of hypnogogia or fatigue.

The Embrace

You weren't well or really ill yet either;
just a little tired, your handsomeness
tinged by grief or anticipation, which brought
to your face a thoughtful, deepening grace.

I didn't for a moment doubt you were dead.
I knew that to be true still, even in the dream.
You'd been out--at work maybe?--
having a good day, almost energetic.

We seemed to be moving from some old house
where we'd lived, boxes everywhere, things
in disarray: that was the story of my dream,
but even asleep I was shocked out of the narrative

by your face, the physical fact of your face:
inches from mine, smooth-shaven, loving, alert.
Why so difficult, remembering the actual look
of you? Without a photograph, without strain?

So when I saw your unguarded, reliable face,
your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth
and clarity of you--warm brown tea--we held
each other for the time the dream allowed.

Bless you. You came back, so I could see you
once more, plainly, so I could rest against you
without thinking this happiness lessened anything,
without thinking you were alive again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

barking, barking, barking

See-line woman
Empty his pockets
And wreck his days
Make him love her
And she’ll fly away
- Nina Simone

infinity doesn’t have a vanishing
point like i originally thought it’s more like a wall
that starts at the floor, at the bottom of
my feet, the tip
of my toes and then shoots
up super-fast like lighting or a superhero
past my face taking a little oxygen with it
on its way to never coming back down, leaving
me a little blind and breathless.
it feels like an impossibly stubborn
wreath of seaweed wrapped around the ankle
of a version of myself who’s a crappier swimmer, snorkeling
he will naturally begin to panic “calm down, me,
please. it is only seaweed. perhaps if you let yourself sink
a little, it may loosen its maddening grip, then
you can just float to the top, me.”
but all i hear underwater is the sizzle of fire-coral,
the swishing of sharktail and my eyeballs turning the face
of my goggles white-white

Friday, September 4, 2009


worlds don’t collide the way we think they do most of the time

they are right on top of each other parallel not the way lines

are parallel the way things can be palimpsested the specks of dust

on a window pane and the blurry objects behind it, but the pane

dust and blur are all the same it may be the way dyslexics see

the phonebook or a dictionary text just bleeding in, on, around,

[more prepositions] each other bleed of each other, even the way

memories are stored a matrix of pathways in the brain that intersect

and re-intersect in bolts of blue recognition and epiphany

the worlds are so much more and so much less than what we perceive

for instance: space is like time, a constructed illusion relative

and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, something omniscient would

say we are in all possible worlds, which is impossible impossible

to understand we are too small to realize everything is within