Today's poem is by Paul Hoover

First Language

No time for the real; it's much too slow.
No time to peel a lettuce, no drudgery
of what is. It's all too familiar
when the neighbor's yellow flowers
bang their heads against the door;

the sky descends closer and closer;
the night defends the old orders. The real
is much too tragic. Fiction is the essence
on the gray road to magic. Thank you, yes;
thank you, no. No time for love, either;

there's too much falling. Everyone's
reeling from having so much feeling,
a burden and a prize, your mouth forever
singing and body parts swollen from
love's sheer labor, the years of smiling

for no good reason and all those nights
of crying. And then the families to visit
including those departed, a thousand postures
of doubt and knowledge, the well-dressed
window staring at the blank one, and oars

that float away. No time for life, either,
the world with all its sores, the daily grind
of subtleties and childhood triumphs.
Let the earth have it. A small song sung.
The train prepares distance, a station

rehearses staying. We can't help being
the person we impersonate, and now
another one's coming. No time for being,
it takes too much dying. The world
with all its doors and only one open.

But the new ordeals are over; the old
ones have begun. As shadows sway
on the sun-gray ground, we double speak
distance and the things it has to say, coinciding
with ourselves and our selves once more.

First language, then the world, desire and
its words: I got a bone to pick with you.
The folded and enfolding, like what
we meant to say, with its sharps and flats.
Naked and disguised, the bodies we prepare.

Copyright © 2015 Paul Hoover All rights reserved
from Fourteen Hills
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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