Today's poem is by Richard Siken
Landscape with Fruit Rot and Millipede
I cut off my head and threw it in the sky. It turned
into birds. I called it thinking. The view from above
untethered scrutiny. It helps to have an anchor
but your head is going somewhere anyway. It's a matter
of willpower. O little birds, you flap around and
make a mess of the milk-blue skyall these ghosts
come streaming down and sometimes I wish I had
something else. A redemptive imagination, for
example. The life of the mind is a disappointment,
but remember what stands for what. We deduce
backward into first causesstone in the pond of things,
splash splashor we throw ourselves into the future.
We all move forward anyway. Ripples in all directions.
What is a ghost? Something dead that seems to be
alive. Something dead that doesn't know it's dead.
A painting, for instance. An abstraction. Cut off your
head, kid. For all the good it'll do ya. I glued my head back
on. All thoughts finish themselves eventually. I wish
it were true. Paint all the men you want but sooner or
later they go to ground and rot. The mind fights the
body and the body fights the land. It wants our bodies,
the landscape does, and everyone runs the risk of
being swallowed up. Can we love nature for what it
really is: predatory? We do not walk through a passive
landscape. The paint dries eventually. The bodies
decompose eventually. We collide with place, which
is another name for God, and limp away with a
permanent injury. Ask for a blessing? You can try,
but we will not remain unscathed. Flex your will
or abandon your will and let the world have its way
with you, or disappear and save everyone the bother
of a dark suit. Why live a life? Well, why are you
asking? I put on my best shirt because the painting
looked so bad. Color bleeds, so make it work for you.
Gravity pulls, so make it work for you. Rubbing
your feet at night or clutching your stomach in the
morning. It was illegibleno single line of sight,
rno many angles of approach, smoke in the distance.
It made no sense. When you have nothing to say,
set something on fire. A blurry landscape is useless.
Copyright © 2015 Richard Siken All rights reserved
from War of the Foxes
Copper Canyon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!
Web Weekly Features
About Verse Daily
Submit to Verse Daily
Copyright © 2002-2015 Verse Daily
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2002-2015 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved