I want to apologize for my absence last week. I was busy transporting homemade meatballs across state lines (for entirely moral purposes, I assure you). Meatball transportation lends itself less easily to poetic reverie than you’d think.
I found this poem in a magazine; it reminded me of both Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery, in just a phrasing or 2. I like all the ampersands and the form of it (anyone wanna take a stab there? Come on, there are no answers too easy on MV!).
Larry Levis lived from 1946-1996, which means he died way too young. Like D.A. Powell, he’s from California’s central valley, and the landscape remained important to his writing. I’ve noticed while looking up some of our various contemporary writers on the poetry foundation website that Diane Wakoski is a wonderfully clear analyst of others’ writing. She wrote of Levis that his work “is best when the poems are short and are shaped by his imagist instincts or his gestures towards surrealism. He is a master of the brief moment of recognition where the personal is embedded in the generic . . .” I would imagine she’d approve of today’s reading. -ed.
GOSSIP IN THE VILLAGE
I told no one, but the snows came, anyway.
They weren’t even serious about it, at first.
Then, they seemed to say, if nothing happened,
Snow could say that, & almost perfectly.
The village slept in the gunmetal of its evening.
And there, through a thin dress once, I touched
A body so alive & eager I thought it must be
Someone else’s soul. And though I was mistaken,
And though we parted, & the roads kept thawing between snows
In the first spring sun, & it was all, like spring,
Irrevocable, irony has made me thinner. Someday, weeks
From now, I will wake alone. My fate, I will think,
Will have to be no fate. I will feel suddenly hungry.
The morning will be bright, & wrong.