19 April 2009

Brenda Hillman

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

Clouds Near San Leandro


The crack in social justice widened;
we saw the sparkle shelf below;

there had been some fragile delays
in back of the noetic cities,

berries on the blood ledge, sun-
lords with their seeds of steel,

snakes winding in the hungry age.
In the middle of our life

the dark woods had been clear-cut;
furies changed to quires of orange,

in spring, pelicans seen flying hillward,
their beaks like cut-up credit cards.


In the middle of your life
you cast aside the brittle flame;

the doctor took some cancer off,
pain ceased to be an organizer.

Hadn't you preferred Nefertiti's blank left
eye to the rest? shape of
seeds the blue jays love, white

as the dream-egg heart of a
6 the courtier used for calling

other courtiers with his thumb --


We're done with the old ironies,
is the thing of it. Some

foolish soul has sold his entire
Liz Phair collection back to Amoeba;

Used jewel cases seem almost tender,
smothered-to-smithereens-type plastic like

the mythic selves in Nietzsche, comet
making a comeback, the endless sheen --


So shake off the iron shoes
of fame and image and sing

near the dumb branch. Or enter
the pond where the angles swam.

Aren't there visions involving everything?
Some animals are warm in paradise;

your little alchemical salamander taricha tarosa,
fresh from the being cycles, stumbles

over rocks in its lyric outfit --

Pieces of Air in the Epic (Wesleyan Poetry)

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