Friday, August 08, 2008

Poets say it better than I can


by Tony Hoagland

This year Marie drives back and forth
from the hospital room of her dying friend
to the office of the adoption agency.

I bet sometimes she doesn't know
What threshold she is waiting at—

the hand of her sick friend, hot with fever;
the theoretical baby just a lot of paperwork so far.

But next year she might be standing by a grave,
wearing black with a splash of
banana vomit on it,

the little girl just starting to say Sesame Street
and Cappuccino latte grand Mommy.
The future ours for a while to hold, with its heaviness—

and hope moving from one location to another
like the holy ghost that it is.

"Migration" by Tony Hoagland from What Narcissism Means To Me © Graywolf Press, 2003.


Anonymous said...

and hope moving from one location to another
like the holy ghost that it is.

Amen to that

Anonymous said...

Here's another


There was the day we swam in a river, a lake, and an ocean.
And the day I quit the job my father got me,
And the day I stood outside a door
And listened to my girlfriend making love
To someone obviously not me, inside,

And I felt strange because I didn’t care.
There was the morning I was born,
And the year I was a loser,
And the night I was the winner of the prize
For which the audience applauded.

Then there was someone else I met,
Whose face and voice I can’t forget,
And the memory of her
Is like a jail I’m trapped inside,
Or maybe she is something I just use
to hold my real life at a distance.

Happiness, Joe says, is a wild red flower
Plucked from a river of lava
And held aloft on a tightrope
Strung between two scrawny trees
Above a canyon
in a manic-depressive windstorm.

Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it,

And when you do, you will keep looking for it
Everywhere, for years,
While right behind you,
The footprints you are leaving

Will look like notes of a crazy song.

"How It Adds Up" appeared in The Black Warrior Review

© All Copyright, Tony Hoagland.

Anonymous said...

Very poignant, Carla; it's like balancing death and rebirth -- stewardship and love and support and involvement and caring -- the nurturing is as pure, and it is the same, on opposite ends of the spectrum; balanced uncomfortably on the end of a fulcrum, the sharp point of which is now, this moment, suspended in a delicate dance of uncertainty tinged with inevitability....