You are the following dangerous words: 1. heart 2. love 3. mind
4. beauty and 5. eyes
(I don’t consider beauty a failure, but that’s just my opinion).
I wanted to save you because you are all so hackneyed;
maybe some of the words that typically surround you, I thought,
could give you some life?
So for example, for eyes, I wrote: four eyes, private eyes, snake eyes,
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and Don’t Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their
For love I listed Hiroshima, From Russia with Love,
Love and Rockets, Love Is a Battlefield and You Can’t Buy Me Love.
Maybe you were more political than I realized.
I subtracted you from these phrases, then scrambled your neighbors
into what I called a poem, but the end result was a solipsistic,
awkward definition for each of you
(I think I was trying to do something semiotic).
When I was about seven or eight, I found a blue jay with a broken wing in some
I ran home and told my mom, who gave me a shoe box and a pair of ski gloves
to handle him. My mom rushed us to the vet, and I felt so relieved.
But when we called later that afternoon to check on our patient, the vet had put
him to sleep;
there was nothing he could do, he said.
Plato, in the Republic, says that poets must be exiled.
Shelley calls poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
I remember the blue jay’s eyes, looking up at me through the foot-length ferns
like I was going to kill him.
Just the exact opposite, I thought, cradling him in ski gloves.