Thursday, June 29, 2017

"The Starlessness of the Fortieth Year" by Joe Bolton

"Maybe it's OK after all if you
Never write the great novel or make love
To the tan, oiled movie star in Rio.

Stretched out under an ordinary mauve
Sky, you count the stars that couldn't care less
About you. Blinded by their own cold light,

They've wheeled these forty years above your loss
And are little consolation tonight.
Even grand failures were beyond your reach:

Those heartbreak letters written and burned,
That Jewish girl who rode your hand so deep
Into orgasm she could not return.

What night requires, the singing dawn gives back,
Trustworthy as your inevitable heart attack."

- Joe Bolton, from "Bad Sonnets"

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Speak softly, for this is life" by Fernando Pessoa

"Speak softly, for this is life,
Life and my consciousness of it,
Because the night advances, I’m tired, I can’t sleep,
And if I go to the window
I see, beneath the eyelids of the beast, the stars’ many dwellings...
I wore out the day hoping I’d sleep at night.
Now it’s night, almost the next day. I’m sleepy. I can’t sleep.
I feel, in this weariness, that I’m all of humanity.
It’s a weariness that almost turns my bones into flesh...
We all share the same lot...
Flies with caught wings, we stagger
Through the world, a spider web spanning the chasm."

- Fernando Pessoa, from A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems

Monday, June 12, 2017

In Their Shape

To Teta, once again...

We die, they say
But we never die, they say
We carry our dead in our hearts,
They live in us, they say

They say so much, they say so little…

She was here, they say
I remember her, they say
It was a long time ago, they say
It was like yesterday...

I hear so much, I say so little…

She’s somewhere, they say
Looking over you, they say
I look over my shoulder,
Still searching…

One day she’s at the beach
Collecting shells, they say
And years later I’m back here
Collecting my breath…

I won’t go back, I say
I’m done, I say
I moved on…

But moving on, a part of me snags
Dragging behind like a dead limb.
Is it me? I say
Is it her? I say

They say nothing; they only nod.
I guess that’s how we carry our dead, I say:
Our heart, dragging behind, looking like them…

(Originally posted on January 3, 2015)

Saturday, June 03, 2017

"Smoke and Gold: Cedar Key, 1988" by Joe Bolton

When a moon rises to moor the evening star,
The Gulf swells, making the distance to Texas
Irrevocable. . . .
                          There are ships out there
That say goodbye repeatedly in your sleep,
Ships that never arrived
Where someone might still stand waiting
On the far shore.

There is the magic Floridian hour
When the sea flashes with sunset,
When the sky becomes almost
Tangible in its painterliness, and memory
Rolls loaded dice across the waves. . . .

Still, in the soft metallic resonance of twilight,
The closest thing you have left to a soul
Is the smoke from your cigarette drifting out the window
Of a hotel room, number nine, and what little
You can remember of the little love you made.

And at night here there’s nothing to do
But lie down beside your lost self
And the lost selves of others you have lost . . .

—As the dark ghosts of ships
Sound their goodbyes, never arriving
                                                    at the far shore.

- Joe Bolton, from The Last Nostalgia