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Hard Drive

Saturday the stuffed bears were up again

over the Major Deegan

dancing in plastic along the bridge rail

under a sky half misty, half blue

and there were white clouds

blowing in from the west

 

which would have been enough

for one used to pleasure

in small doses

 

but then later, at sunset,

driving north along the Saw Mill

in a high wind, with clouds big and drifting

above the road like animals

proud of their pink underbellies,

in a moment of intense light

I saw an Edward Hopper House,

at once so exquisitely light and dark

that I cried, all the way up Route 22

those uncontrollable tears

“as though the body were crying”

 

and so young women

here’s the dilemma

 

itself the solution

 

I have always been at the same time

woman enough to be moved to tears

and man enough

to drive my car in any direction

 

(from Drive, 1998)

 

Lament for a Turkish Suicide Age 22

What she wanted was more

    school or a job, anyway

    she got herself a tight skirt

 

She didn’t want to live hiding herself

 

But her father burned her skirt

    and then three people beat her bloody

 

She lived just long enough to write

    that she wanted to die

 

and then she climbed some stairs

    and stepped into the air

    and left the fabric

    of her brief life

(from All Told, 2003)

 

Weather

My folder of poems

labeled “weather” holds

no clues as to whether

or not there’ll be any

 

weather to count on, say,

a hard rain like “little nails,” or

that deluge “plunging radiant”

 

now that we’ve plunged into war

and wars don’t stop like rain stops

 

like that last slow drizzle

onto the old tin bathroom vent

 

sweet hint of growth

in the soft wet drift north

 

fire or ice, fire or ice

 

are you breathing, are you lucky enough

to be breathing

 

(from Doing 70, 2007)