Sunday, April 6, 2014

A man must live. Not for nothing do we invest so much of ourselves in other people's lives--or even in momentary pictures of people we do not know. It cuts both ways: the happy group inside the lighted window, the figure in long grass in the orchard seen from the train stay and support us in our dark hours. Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that we live, if we do. It is the emotion to which we remain faithful, after all: we are taught to recover it in some other place.

--Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart

Notes from a Traffic Jam

Dawn Potter

Roadmaster truck creaking up from its netherworld,
swaying past the fizzing lights of a diner,
then sliding like a boxy snake into the unremembered night—

Window glimpse of optimists on a couch,
bending forward in eager profile to toast Fortune
with a pair of giant paper cups—

Oh, sometimes I fear I’ve lost the will to imagine
this comedy, this ugly beauty, this moving-picture world.
On and on it runs, trundling out the bumpkin tale of our species

yet wanting nothing from me: neither eye nor heart,
nor sneer, nor timid idle word. I bide my time in this car
like a beetle trapped on a floating weed, biting my nails,

squinting into the disembodied glare of your lanterns,
but you, you, you are a million dream-years away—
You, closing your India-print curtains against the dark;

you, shifting your haunches, humming your tune.
When I remember to hate myself,
I hate myself for not loving you enough—

you, who never lay a thought upon me.

[from Same Old Story (CavanKerry Press, 2014)]

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