Sunday, December 20, 2020


It civilizes me,

not like a private sense of bed

but that I have powers of speech at all—

I think I am going to stop

eating bits of paper

that don't say anything on them—

that don't even say anything on them—

I know I should do something

as they say, "for the snows of embarrassment"

like a day in March when the blood is closer,

day singing for the loss of its whip.

Closer, I say, closer.

Or maybe I'll arrange to have you run over by horses


At first it will seem terrible,

a wood-framed tableau in which you're torn limb from limb

or in what as a photograph an idiotic stranger will see and call "wild dust"

then ask about the car park,

something he says

that he brings out like a bow-legged cowboy walk

or leaning with one elbow on the counter.

He's our witness, how awful.

But eventually in our separate ways, we'll see the wisdom in it.

The horses are brown. They're from a painting

hanging in my once-room at the Hotel Phillips

in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

When the next day I saw sunset on the prairie

it gave the impression that the world would go on

as only grassland.

It was my wish

not to know

its reach.

I looked at it like a dog,

a dog waiting to be shot

with a long rifle,

or just a double-barrel shotgun.

O sweet shotgun, make the sun go down.

From It is Daylight (Yale University Press, 2009).

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