13 January 2009

Brenda Hillman

[from Brenda Hillman's Pieces of Air in the Epic, Wesleyan, 2005]

Doppler Effect in Diagram Three

Waves past the meadow, meu viajante
The summer was almost straight
From cities from countries
It had straight-smelling shirts
Parentheses from the hawk a day sound
Only borders in its mouth
Almost no weather from its travels
The heat sing-ing-ing
A series of syllables not yet delivered
Families just beginning to gather
Or double gather like curtains
So much not enough you said
A hope inflected from the east
Something at rest about the waves not then
Someone swell to be remembered
In the theories of the address
Blue & the palindrome of a wave
Moving against the rest

The Earth's axis has been set aflame
The harlequin picks his teeth with a matchstick
It was called life in those decades
Dragonflies attached one per stalk
Like a music staff turned sideways
Papermill Creek before the death of paper
Incandescence is its own defense you said
Periodicity of a fear moving
Off from the too-bright years
A bike in the car its spokes turning
Click-click past goats & ravens
It's up to sounds like this to descend in size
To express surprise or terror
How does air feel with waves inside it
Does it feel more
With the radio on
How do the airwaves get through all the numbers
& how does the ( ( ( ( ( ( (( do it

In the model an observer stands on
The platform & we grow to love him
He is wild & is thinking of nothing
Let us call all of this observer A
There is a row of bending sounds
As the trouble curves rightward
Mr. Doppler is in heaven by now
A slim hush as the fat springs click
The men in burgundy shorts roll
The luggage carts away
People think they are you but they are not
You are you & no one & everything
The oscillating quality of dusk clashes with
What is universal just as the vowels
In a person's name clash with his handwriting
How lovely we seem as the passenger pulls away
With an identity among the abstracted
Pale diners who eat behind the cellophane

But in fact he is lost to us
As the page turner at a recital is lost
Or one who speaks of the Irish solution
Or names the roses Peace or Sally
When it starts being unbearable
Time won't pierce air with its skinny death feet
In the pulling away life is continuous
The worry hyphens inside the molecule
The sentence or the train passing
As it holds out its skirts of sound
The sentence has started its journey
But has no idea for its mystic demise
It rides in the firebox to the cave
Looking out at pines their raw huts
Bearing its constant falling
Over the laughter in the night pool of those
Who have not stopped & may not, ever

Pieces of Air in the Epic (Wesleyan Poetry)

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