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Lesley Yalen

POEM 1

 

 

A ship drifts from nineteen seventy-six

Once they were right on top of each other

The present and the only, the story, the historical

Were identical, coincident

The launch was the slip.

Now a bay or a sound is widely known

Listen. It’s not that I want to live forever

It’s that I want to have lived the whole time

From the beginning

To know where is the beginning

Or I am quite behind and so ignorant

And wrong about many things.

I can almost see over my mother to the other present

They call the past. I don’t like that color, the color

Of an old pink war that somebody really pursued

An old pink purse someone left in a wardrobe.

In the ship’s direction, but not at the ship’s pace

That’s what it was like

Watching a racehorse

Then watching two

Something pulls ahead

The wrong horse pulls ahead

Is there a name for this vertiginous experience?

 

POEM 2

 


That one can be mad at one’s self is higher order thinking

That one can write about being mad at one’s self

That one can tire of one’s self or please or blank with one’s self

What do other life forms do? We have accomplished a great deal.

A long truck trying to make a left—I have my doubts about

The thrashing tail, the reptilian precision of country road in morning light

Frightening, that beauty

That one’s filter doesn’t filter it out

File under quaint, fleeting, fake,

Dying, passing, polluted, blink

That one’s aesthetics are not more advanced

 

Your body is the Michigan of Lakes, the

Tolstoy of promises, the Jew of superheroes

It’s absolutely wonderful, gazing out the window

Reflected in my OS X.

 

The ongoing sex, sex feelings people love to write about

Are as predictable as the fiery leaves in this month

Ending up in this mouth

How advanced will an other life form be?

Will it be able to convey itself to us?

Science seems to really want this, science the vulnerable

Shaking everything—to write is science, to feel is

As far as we’ve traveled

We just keep penetrating the same old

 

I’ve been invited to a wedding/funeral in Minnesota

And so have you, I mean they all are

Every day

Joined and rent, loved and lost

Fucked and fucked in the frosty plain

One can still not see from here

One can not with the naked ear hear them shouting

In Minnesota

So what, there is no meaning in what we are doing?

There is only meaning in what we are doing?

I do everything twice

I do everything at least twice



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