“I never learned to fix anything”
“It always comes / back to light.”
“any part of me you remove / will grow back”
I have nothing to say. I am a recording machine, / a listening device.
I wrote “Confession” in the winter, recently after I had moved from Iowa City to Cambridge, MA. I’d moved from a rambling attic apartment with secret unfinished rooms to a partially furnished attic studio with a shared bathroom down the hall. My writing space was the floor. The convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy contains small, individual cells, like a beehive, that monks would use for devotion. Each cell is bare save for a simple fresco by the early Renaissance master Fra Angelico. My room in Cambridge hardly had a monastic aesthetic; books and clothes were piled in geological strata. Every so often, I would find a bee feebly circling around the lampshade, or a couple of dead bees in the windowsill. “Confession” came to me after receiving a phone call very early in the morning from a friend whom I hadn’t spoken with in months. I don’t know why she chose that morning. She was in a difficult relationship, unhappy, isolated, yet surrounded by a city; I was feeling adrift and lonely, uncertain …
We all quit dancing / To look.
Contraptions for the Human Instrument: A dozen questions for sound sculptor Trimpin by Claire Sykes
Probably the first thing to say about this “poem” is that I didn’t write it. All the words here belong to Kurt Waldheim, the former Secretary General of the United Nations who was later discovered to have been, also, a former SS officer in Hitler’s Germany. (So if you don’t like the writing here, blame Waldheim, not me). I composed this text by deleting words from Waldheim’s memoir, In the Eye of the Storm, and closing up the spaces left by my “erasure.” Then I took the liberty of visually arranging the resulting word-sequences into the “step-down” tercets that William Carlos Williams used for his poetic sequence on the underworld, but I didn’t rearrange the order of words in Waldheim’s original text. The second thing to say, I think, would be that this is an excerpt from a longer passage in my book, Voyager, that depicts Waldheim’s imaginary descent into the underworld. I was trying to find a story under the surface of the story—about the United Nations and Cold War geopolitics—that Waldheim tells in his memoir. …
In which a screenwriter listens to Johnny Cash and considers the origins of a sound and in so doing sheds light on the subject of poetry.
Dear Readers, We’re pleased to report that the Spring-Summer special issue is now available– The Photography Issue— our biggest and best yet. It features poetry by Sierra Nelson, Troy Jollimore, Ellen Bass, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Francis McCue, Andrew Zawacki, and Nicky Beer, photography by Doug Keyes, Nance Van Winckel, Dianne Kornberg, and a special feature on the work of Mary Randlett, including rare photos of the last days of Theodore Roethke. There’s also a special section, Film Roll: An Expose in 24 Frames, curated with contributing editor Andrew Zawacki, featuring a film roll’s worth of short takes on the intersections of poetry & photography, including pieces by C.D. Wright, Sharon Olds, John Yau, Paisley Rekdal, Joshua Edwards, Martha Ronk, Susan Wheeler, and many others. Throughout the issue, we examine and re-envision the intersections of poetry and photography, from the origins of the photograph to the state of the image in the digital age. Now’s the time to subscribe to ensure this special reaches you. And watch for more po-photographic inquiry in this space all summer long…