Sunday 16 September 2007

Uncollected Poems: 1991


I keep leaving this place,
all the intersections perfectly perpendicular,
insidiously so.
It is more than the Thanksgiving suicides,
the skinny high school girls with shaved hair
chain smoking on the campus quad.
Everywhere people are saying something like my name;
I pivot a vestige of the sound in an ordinary conversation.
In the night, the far recesses of prairie become sky,
blue-black and an astounded silence.
I do not exist for the high school boys at the gas station
wearing caps bearing corn seed logos,
for the checkers at Pharmor,
middle-aged women with names with Sara and Lynette.
The university library, the coffeehouse,
a used bookstore, thrift shops:
I must thrive on French roast and Rilke.
The rain is thunder, the snows are blizzards,
the wind snaps like a horsewhip.
The ennui is proud of itself.
At midnight, forsaken roads and the anxiety of stars.
I keep leaving a place
I cannot leave.

written 27 November 1991
published in The Devil's Millhopper, 1992-93

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