Richard Chess – The Poems Left in Me

Now technically, this is not a poem. But in the spirit of Verbatim Poetry I am declaring it to be close enough, which as we know only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and Poetry Month.

Stolen shamelessly from the Image Journal Blog ‘Good Lettters.’ Click here to read the full poem.

The Poems Left in Me – Richard Chess

With gratitude to the poets whose poems gave me this.

The poems left in me a room in which every suffering has a different smell, five summers and five long winters, boatloads of thuya, and silence on a peak in Darien.

The poems left in me grass all blowing in the same direction, twenty seven bathers and one woman, one yearning woman, watching from behind curtains, and angel-headed hipsters on negro streets at dawn searching for an angry fix.

The poems slipped into me, though not like an intruder. The poems left, when I turned the page, when I shelved the wafer-thin book, when I darkened the screen, leaving behind a still, unravished bride. The poems left with a bow not knowing to what.

I would like to say the poems create the eye through which they enter, the ear with which I hear them. I would like to say that the poems form neural pathways in the brain, pathways, in my case, well worn and maintained, regularly tended and groomed. I would like to say that the photons of a poem illuminate my body from within.

I would like to say that I welcome each poem equally—the awful rowing of this one, the hammer of that one swinging overhead so strong, so sure—the way Abraham welcomes strangers to his tent: with lamb, with warmth. They are angels, but Abraham discovers this only after they have gone, only after the miracle they promised comes true.

The poems promised me nothing. More than traces, more than wisps, the poems left in me paired butterflies and squealing housewives. They left in me god’s wrath, coiled forever in my questioning. They left in me a drunken sailor dreaming of baboons.

A door closing on a room to which men at forty will never return, bare-ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang, a church inside which nothing is going on, a filling station, its oil cans arranged to say so, so, so….

Where was it one first heard the truth? The the….   [real the full post here.]


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