Monday’s Verse 11/16/2015

Ross Gay is also on the shortlist of nominees for the 2015 national book award for poetry. It’s either very fun, or way too easy, to play around with his name as a potential anagram, but I think my favorite is a 4th grader’s taunt to a nose picker: "ya gross." Of course, "O grassy" is a bit more poetic. Anyone else wanna play?

In any case, your man is a poetry professor at Indiana University, and has a PhD from Temple. His 2 most recent books — including the nominated Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, were published by U. Pittsburgh Press. The below poem was published in the Spring issue of the Massachusetts Review in 2012. I know what he means about the putting hands in the pants pocket business, when sleeping in one’s clothes is necessary… do you relate to this? -ed.

TO SLEEPING IN MY CLOTHES

And though I don’t mention it

to my mother

or the doctors

with their white coats

it is, in fact,

a great source of happiness,

for me, as I don’t

even remove my socks,

and will sometimes

even pull up my hood

and slide my hands deep

in my pockets

and probably moreso

than usual look as if something

bad has happened

my heart blasting a last somersault

or some artery parting

like curtains in a theatre

while the cavalry of blood

comes charging through

except unlike

so many of the dead

I must be smiling

there in my denim

and cotton sarcophagus

slightly rank from the day

it is said that Shostakovich slept

with a packed suitcase beneath

his bed and it is said

that black people were snatched

from dark streets and made experiments

of and you and I

both have family whose life

savings are tucked 12 feet beneath

the Norway maple whose roots

splay like the bones

in the foot of man

who was walked to Youngstown, Ohio

from Mississippi without sleeping

or keeping his name

and it’s a miracle

maybe I almost never think of

to rise like this

and simply by sliding my feet into my boots

while the water for coffee

gathers its song

be in the garden

or on the stoop

running, almost,

from nothing.

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