Sunlight pouring across your skin, your shadow
flat on the wall.
The dawn was breaking the bones of your heart like twigs.
You had not expected this,
the bedroom gone white, the astronomical light
pummeling you in a stream of fists.
You raised your hand to your face as if
to hide it, the pink fingers gone gold as the light
streamed straight to the bone,
as if you were the small room closed in glass
with every speck of dust illuminated.
The light is no mystery,
the mystery is that there is something to keep the light
from passing through.
— Richard Siken | from Crush | Yale University Press, 2005
Susan Sontag’s biographer, Benjamin Moser, on looking through the writer’s archives: http://nyr.kr/MARju2
“Reading papers and manuscripts is one thing. Looking through someone’s e-mail is quite another … To read someone’s e-mail is to see her thinking and talking in real time. If most e-mails are not interesting (“The car will pick you up at 7:30 if that’s ok xxx”), others reveal unexpected qualities that are delightful to discover. (Who would have suspected, for example, that Sontag sent e-mails with the subject heading “Whassup?”)”
Photograph of Susan Sontag by Jean-Regis Rouston/Roger Viollet/Getty.
After work you go to the grocery store to get some milk and a carton of
cigarettes. Where did you get those bruises? You don’t remember.
Work was boring. You find a jar of bruise cream and a can of stewed
tomatoes. Maybe a salad? Spinach, walnuts, blue cheese, apples, and
you can’t decide between the Extra Large or Jumbo black olives. Which
is bigger anyway? Extra Large has a blue label, Jumbo has a purple
label. Both cans cost $1.29. While you’re deciding, the afternoon light
is streaming through the windows behind the bank of checkout coun-
ters. Take the light inside you like a blessing, like a knee in the chest,
holding onto it and not letting it go. Now let it go.
— Richard Siken | excerpt from “You Are Jeff” | Crush | Yale University Press, 2005
Dave Smith, closing lines to “In the Yard, Late Summer, from Floating on Solitude: Three Volumes of Poetry (University of Illinois Press, 1996)
Jorge Luis Borges | “The Riddle of Poetry” | This Craft of Verse |Harvard University Press, 2000
Aren’t we enlarged
by the scale of what we’re able
to desire? Everything,
the choir insists,
inside these wrappings
burns another, brighter life,
by song: hear how
it cascades, in overlapping,
lapidary waves of praise? Still time.
Still time to change.
Mark Doty, closing lines to “Messiah (Christmas Portions),” from Sweet Machine: Poems (HarperCollins, 1998)
Rainer Maria Rilke, from a letter to his wife, Clara Westhoff, Isle of Capri, 8 April 1907 (via apoetreflects)