Wednesday, September 15, 2010

114. And Continuing in This Manner

A clean-washed bra
and the next thought was summer,

a sense that there was a smell to it
or her

and hearing in the wind
where I was,

or the sound of laughter
from squeaky little children

brought about by the beneficence
of summer, that summer

that is no longer here but hasn’t
left, or writing it down,

thinking it out, looking it over,
making it up, and we are

always making it up, because
there is no word, there is no meaning,

just air
just wind

and no way to tell one
from another or what to do

because we believe in one pun,
the other, a mighty maker

of heaving
and surf,

and that beach again
and summer even if,

though definitely though,
there was no beach before, just

a bra,
which is enough

if off,
and what it holds for us

we hold,
these truths

are universal, like air,
like wind,

like what it is that moves invisible
through her hair

like silk,
like silt, and stopped,

always stopped in the middle of a thought because
there is only one thought,

then it continues
and it extends

its hearty greetings to the world
before us,

before we have a chance
to forget or even do anything else,

and it is for this reason that I say too much
because I know,

and you must, too, that time is always short,
suffering from a Napoleonic complex,

narcoleptic, and dying or senile,
and I have a colander of tomatoes,

tiny as opportunities,
sitting on my kitchen counter,

so I just ate one, because I believe in eating summer,
in tasting the last red flesh of it,

even in the dark, even when evening’s
moved into the neighborhood and the air turns

a little skunky because
it is night and the skunks wander

looking for fear,
and fear’s something we can always find,

a bra not always,
a clean-washed one even less so,

and I’m writing you so that you remember,
later in life, when you’ve forgotten a few other things,

that particular bra, because
it doesn’t exist,

and since we are beings
of the mind

we don’t really have to remember what exists,
we can remember something that doesn’t

and still be moved by it,
and still move our nose into the warm cup of the bra,

then the other, and imagine
we are men of the senses, if not always sense,

and I tell you this this evening
because I needed something to say, you see,

you are the 114th person I’ve written a letter to this year,
a letter that is also a poem, and some of them

are clear, maybe didactic (like this one),
maybe awkward, and others are obscure, made

out of the words left over after a thought’s
lost its way, and I don’t want them

to sound alike, but I still have a voice
and I hear it in each word, so the quest is to

not be the same person twice (here, I’m colloquial
and humorous, but only slightly the latter),

because the goal here is to examine the possibilities
of language across a single year, the year I am

fifty, which is this year but also next,
and I am writing a letter a day, because I like

the constraint of time, because it is real
and natural, like the air,

like wind, and because I enjoy the process
of building a book, day by day, this one

set to be about 1300 pages long when
it’s done, when it will be, if

it will be, since we never know
what life with give us, or take away, and sometimes

it’s not a clean-washed bra, sometimes
it’s death, which is what always stops a thought.

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