Tuesday, July 22, 2014

John Wieners Selected Poems 1958-1984

Over the last week I've been reading John Wieners Selected Poems 1958-1984. These are beautiful, lyrical poems about loss, longing, and loneliness. They are wonderfully crafted, sad and haunting. And graceful. I was most drawn to the earlier books; the first half of the collection spoke to me more than the second half. But all is marvelous.

from "A  Series"


There is dirt under my nails
and my hands are hard and caked
with the abuses of lust,
     despair and drugs.

The night is a foreign place
without sound or shadow
as we lie abed waiting for the pills to take effect.

There are no poems or romance
left int he soul, only a churning
     in the belly.

Without image
we are bereft.

The soft syllable is denied us

and we reach, grasp for the word
as a life-preserver
     that sinks and bobs in the churning waves.

The walls are alive with pictures.
Faces haunt the dark.

There is nothing I can do
but go on led by the flickering of a flame
I cannot name.

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