Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
“Blind as light”—three of the right words where wrong ones
would’ve done—was all I meant then, if not now,
not bound to go the way of louder voices,
many useless as the phrase “the mind itself.”
Half enthralled and more peculiar in mirrors
(not so much as an inch of real skin in ’em!)
I’m prepared for dawn to warn me to morning,
at which point I’ll sleep and know the sun’s still there.
I’ll know so again beneath the one crushed moon
and in the screensaver’s flat glow of jungle.
Almost anything’s a toy—I forget that—
and maybe I’ve moved around the house enough
to’ve missed the bleached flag expiring on its pole.
I’ve never closed my mouth to the past; in fact,
I’ll cry right now so there’s a music in place—
and apropos—of most of what could be here.
I miss dial tones and cigarettes and blizzards.
Three earrings hang from staples in a corkboard.
A painting certainly changes, not unlike
the usage of a word I’ve never spoken;
bit of rain, familiar wind, another room . . .
One thing’s for sure: something’ll have to go last.
And until then—or, more likely, until well
before then—the usual: saying what I’m
forgetting (soon to be what I’ve forgotten)
and nostalgia’s just the fact of not having
attended to the present in the present.
No rain, a different wind, a failure of room.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.
Support us with a donation this giving season.
Robin D. G. Kelley on the midterm elections.