Late afternoon, and suddenly I'm here.
I know I'm here because of the stillness.
What is the tense for stillness? For suddenly?
I put the groceries on the kitchen counter and-look out
across the lake. The stillness is like a shade
drawn down over the day.
The heron always takes me by surprise.
What is the tense for surprise? For breaking up
at the edges? Here
is like an equal sign. The stillness
is on one side, the heron
on the other. Or, the heron is on one side,
I am on the other.
Where does inside the brightness belong?
The heron brings with it an atmosphere
which extends in all directions
equidistant like a dome.
Translucence and shine preceding.
I put the groceries on the kitchen counter.
The heron can feel looking coming toward it.
My looking is like a weight, like
a hand reaching out to touch.
Something began to write in me. My=Life=As=Heron.
A heron comes rushing toward me, I was not heron
when this was happening, I was other
and filled with delight.
This was a heron that had never felt writing
touch it, not anywhere
on its body. A heron comes rushing
toward me with wings
outspread, I was walking to the mailboxes.
To be recognized, standing out from
others like me everywhere walking. To be
made visible. To make a noise,
to be made to. The heron
is involuntary, a developing
history of music, other than what I
was, what I am, what I had been.
When the rushing outspreads me
I do not think, the gaze
of the rushing like a scent tracking
from it to me to it
a blaze without weight floating up
blue watery, and gray. With pink blowing
about the head and neck, the pink
delicate as the stamens
of flowers and all of it thinner and taller
than I thought it would be, almost to my shoulder
and looking into my face.
Sometimes the lake comes up to the house, lapping
at the living room where green growing
has shoved between
the screen and the sliding glass doors. Inside, it
lifts its slender legs, carefully, like pistons
or bicycle pedals in slow motion, one
foot carefully, precisely, then
the other across the white tiles in the kitchen.
To make shine itself (wary, daring). To alongside
to toward to in (autarkic, free).
it is not there, the heron is included
in my thoughts, but when I
am heron, I am not
included in my thoughts. (How do I know this?)
To be suddenly heron and wading deeper in
inamorato carus of flowers the calculi
are the ceremonies of desire? Arrhythmias
of speech? Dilapidations of breath? The unsaid
But whether I am the one
writing or the one written on, eros blurring
the boundaries or overstepping
belief and disbelief, binding the unlikely
with the likely
the heron with its own stylus writing
the lake's margins
materials impermanent flowing
mucosa of the shore and current reflections
defalcations seed drift laufs fiscs
Sawel swen sunthaz, pneu poi? Poi
Can the other
ever be other enough?
(Where I live is not "a veritable Eden."
There are cars and mailboxes, there are boys hitting
a ball again and again and skateboards left
under trees. There is exhaust, there are wrong
numbers and alarms going off, and toward
evening, a sound I used to think was an insect,
precarious, as if something unbalanced
vibrated when darkness touched it, trembling
every particle of me, every solid)
as heron I don't remember how focused I was, how intent
something in the grass moving
or toward me or away
Sometimes a shriek comes out of the here, awkward
ungainly, it looks nothing
like what I thought here was. Is that
when I lie down with the figment man?--he
comes to me from inside out pushing, and
though I regard him in secret, he
regards me openly, a phantom
I could put my hands through
him (what is the tense for no
weight, no body?) and yet, he is
a weight inside me pushing (language
like a bit in my mouth) hurting
to be outside, against
me rubbing, broken free (language like
a gag, or a hand over my mouth), is that
when he says things I have not
but maybe will say, his mouth quickening
unprisoning blots stains erasures of the most
subcutaneous divestments, do I
need to like him, his mouth
touching my ear
(kn ken kne) (bhereu bhreus)
I have never seen his face.
To fabricate more real, or less. To fabricate
widespread beating air. To make sounds
out loud; at either end
disconnected, not yet placed
language like a circle of light floating in the floating
To fabricate budding from the other feelings
unknown in the self (earnest, fierce, unsparing)--
is this possible, just the stutter
of them, as if a hand gripped
your hand too hard, and the other's face--
how exhausting to be what the other
is afraid of, how exhausting to be feared
so that after a while one believes what the other
believes which is not what the heron
believes or myself as heron.
What does to make shine itself.
What does alongside the poem another poem
challenging, questioning, its
spaces not yet inhabited
by speech, its boundaries shifting, mutable.
What does the moment like a match striking flame.
Fall in this is not it and that is not it
thrawan tinya from all soil pulling it.
What does the fear to mar the whole, to unfierce
ungrip its claws. Ekvo dyeupo.
What does quibble and does it matter sex or love
or eros--bhoso bha ghnes. I could taste the foreigner
in my mouth torn alive.
What is worthy of lamentation, its long rods
of burn and smoking.
What does frenzy carrying it aloft.
What does I am the stranger lost among borders
crossing and recrossing myself.
Dolk ekvo maghyo. Dolk ekvabheri maghyo.
What does ceaselessly moving forward and the breath
I could not contain and had to breathe back.
What does hair flesh bone and much more extraordinary.
Love hit me over the head and left me for dead
in a ditch. If the moment
is not knowledge then what is grasping
or suddenly or mortality.
Fall in shines and shows itself.
Goodbye to pleasure and pain.
Goodbye to the forms for they hurt the breath.
Fall in arrayed in barbaric luxury.
Fall in speaking in a tense that does not exist.
Menegh mebh (merga meve yter yter yter).
With: with what am I alongside? A heron has lassoed
the balcony outside my bedroom and looks in
at me, a young blue heron impatiently
patient lassoes and beats
at the window, the blue-
gray under-feathers flattening
palladial against the glass.
Wake up. Wherefore
Something impatiently patient began
to write desire and body are one motion
to one side and the eye (how shall I memorize
the eye with its arctic
auroras, its heavy golds) its
head to one side and my palms--
the gaze pushing me hard
urging, I am there
in the eye chafing
with declaration, the tongs
of looking heating up
I am there circled
by golds, by bullions
art where thou?
or I am outside looking in
at the heron looking out
no stammer in the gaze, no quaver
On the lake side, all of me into other.
Something offsprings, it trebles to it, and I
updraft, I photoflood, I blotter up.
Something was beginning to write, and I subsided
from me, I shadowed out.
Or I was rushing toward myself rushing.
(The wonder of its starting up, not that this
has changed after a hundred
times, a thousand.)
To anoint with, to flamboy and playing it.
But real and solid and out there with a mind
and presence and force of its own.
Where does included belong?
I am thinking is flowing away from me.
Where does other?
Later I will lie down with him. The heron
always takes us by surprise, the words
not yet grown bark and leaves around the motion.
What is the tense for no hesitation?
I thought I would find a place for the heron
is my sabbath, I shall not want, it
maketh me to lie down.
I thought I would find a place for tains tandjan
swad tolk tek.
What is the tense for intensify? For
tenx teng tenq?
SUSAN MITCHELL is the author of three books of poems, most recently Erotikon (HarperCollins, 2000). Her previous collection, Rapture, won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a National Book Award Finalist. Mitchell holds the Mary Blossom Lee Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University.
Mitchell, Susan. "Self Portrait with Young Eros." The American Poetry Review July-Aug. 2004: 9+. Academic OneFile. Web. 9 July 2010.
Gale Document Number:A119108440
Friday, July 9, 2010
Late afternoon, and suddenly I'm here.