I love poetry. I used to write a lot of it and used to identify mainly as a poet. That’s not so much the case anymore, but I do love reading it and I have an especial fondness for formal poetry.
three four of my favorites.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
And one more: published just last week, after I had finished writing this post. It pairs well–too well, sadly–with the Audre Lorde poem above.
The most common force, the most everyday, is also the most obscure. We feel it most but we understand it least.
Begin from here: the curvature of space-time is caused by the unequal distribution of mass/energy.
On the street. For hours.
This is distorted geometry. How a body causes space-time to sag.
If an object is subjected to force it will deviate.
Time lapses more slowly. On the street. Slow light.
All models of quantum blackness attempt to develop a new geometry. “Everything was like a poem, with different curves, different levels.”1 “There is a point at which methods devour themselves. I should like to start from there.”2 “Yes, I must press. My colleagues must press. We all press.”3
Squeeze and stretch. How space-time dissolves at very small distances.
Plot the distance between bullet and flesh. The distance between floor and hair. Between throat and chain. Between hunger and time of day.
As my colleague wrote before her untimely death: Only two words in this research are necessary.
As Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote in “A Defence of Poetry“: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” (Funny story: I took a class on Romantic Lit in college and we were assigned to read the excerpt that was in our anthology; I owned a collected works of Shelley that was easier to read from so I accidentally read the whole thing. And loved it.)