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Craig Morgan Teicher



I got married in June of 2006. Beginning about a year before that (when my wife and I got engaged), ideas about marriage, couplehood, partnership, and privacy began to seem like good, useful subjects for poems. I wrote a whole manuscript about the ways my relationship with my wife and my practice of writing had become braided.

When that was done, I spent some time writing poems and fables that were not about my life. Then I began getting interested in a bunch of poets—Robert Creeley, the Waldrops, Blaser, Spicer—who, in one way or another, advocated a poetry that responds to itself, even self-consciously generates itself as it goes along. So I thought I’d try letting them poems think up their own next lines.

Coming off the fables, I had characters in my head, so it made sense to let the lines in these poems talk back and forth with, to, and at each other. Marriage being still very much in my thoughts, the poems that came turned into explorations, or so it seems to me, of the ways two people who are intimately sharing a space do, and do not, succeed at communicating by talking, the ways that the words being used and things being said are rarely the same thing.



A Conversation

What did god tell you?

That he is scared.

He is lonely.

What did he mean?

That the naked man in the

apartment across the street

knows that I am watching.

What will happen to us?

We are all going to die

but not yet. Only some of us

are dying now. Most

have more time.

What should we do till then?

My bed is cold. I wish

it wasn’t.

What are you going to do?

Even if I publish

my thoughts across

the sky someone

will mistake

them for clouds.

What do you want?

The feeling when

a dog looks at me.

What’s the next question

you want me to ask?

What is pain good for?

Even apple cores count

in the vast catalogue

of particulars of which

the awe-inspiring

universe is composed.

But does anything stop? Will it end?

That feeling of stepping

into a patch of sunlight.

I don’t know how much

more I can take and

no one will tell me.

Would you like an apple?

A Conversation

What can you do

for someone else?

I fantasize about keeping

a tiger for a pet, the

way it would nuzzle me,

its soft cheeks and lips.

I feel overwhelmed

by others’ expectations.

Would you like

to have sex

on the couch?

What does it mean

when you take my hand?

I have two

deaf sisters.

People’s minds are crowded

by received ideas, but

between them, in the crevices

between thoughts, are a few

visions of a world before.

Was it fair to ask

for both the ring

and the hand

that wore it?

Yes—sleep is

the playground of children

and their demons.

Will you remain

afraid throughout

the night, even though

I’m here?

If I wash my wings

they will be too heavy

with water to fly.

I could learn to suffer.

Won’t you wait with me?


A Conversation

Shall we go

down to the water and dip

our fingers into

the rippling moonlight?

I want to be at the mercy

of music as subtle

and complex as the patterns

made by windblown grains of sand.

But would you spare

your teeth to save

your daughter?

I would row my way

through moonbeams.

I’m feeling young

but hopeless.

Would you like me

to rub your back?

Soup would be nice

or chamomile tea.

I want to lose myself

along the inevitable walkway.

What would a bird say?

Flies are already hovering

around our heartbeats.


A Conversation

I can’t even tell

whether the mirror

or my face is cracked.

I can’t tell

a zebra from a horse.

I can’t tell

a spoon from a moon.

I can’t tell

you how to live your life.

I will walk down

to the river’s edge

at the time of year

when the current

is strongest.

I will learn to

play the didgeridoo.

I will race the

river to the sea.


A Conversation

The cat is tiny

to the point of hardly even


existing. What time

is dinner?

I’m sweeping


the apartment for landmines.

I’m drawing a picture


of the two of us holding


          while the crayon house


is consumed in flames.

I’m waiting for you

                             to come home.


A Conversation

It is raining

Within you?

No, outside—outside

the windows.

What does it mean?

That the world

is dry.

Within you?

No. Outside—the world

where everyone lives.


Within me.

Oh—the world.

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