Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Poem

Last Saturday I read at the Silverbow with a group of local writers. It was fun to see what other poets in Juneau are working on right now.

This is one of the poems I read:

Museum of Natural History, New York

Finally, the day when we will visit the Museum—
a long break between conference talks

and we all go—daddy, grandparents,
and you, rattling under the park and into

the belly of that amazing place.
I’ve been dreaming of the bones of sea turtles

for days. We walk
and walk and walk—you tucked against

my back, looking, looking
and soon we are overwhelmed.

How can we remember all these facts?
How can we hold the vision of so many

birds in our minds? Case after case
documenting a world we need to know better.

Finally, you whimper and save us both.
We slip away from the group

and into the blue whale room—
a life size replica slung from the ceiling

and the whole room, dark and blue
and cool. Below the whale is just a patch

of carpet and all the mothers and babies
are here on the floor. I take you out of your pack

put you down, and we both lie back
under the whale. It fills our whole

sight, going on forever, this view of a whale
that only nursing calves must see.

We follow its belly lines and they are the latitude
lines of the whole world. I reach out and touch

your head, as the quiet washes over us,
as we rest under the sea, and I remember

how I fit with you, and I remember who I am,
in this vast, unknowable world.

This one seemed to get the best response of the 6 poems I read. Maybe because it's the most narrative? I'm still kicking around the idea that poetry readings are hard because we can't follow lyric or meditative poetry orally. Do we need something narrative to hang on to when we're listening?

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