Friday, January 9, 2015

A Hugh Seidman Poem

After the Ear Inn After the Snow

The river icy in the wind.
Jersey glinting from night’s amalgam. Neon shines
from the luminous, frosted window.
Drunk, twenty years back,

I pitched over handlebars to snow,
proud of my scarred chin at 2 AM
on the Tenth Avenue bridge
after the Mixers had closed.

There Berryman, the drinker of sherry and gin,
would jump to the Mississippi.
But Charlotte Mew drank
disinfectant and begged: Let me go —

obsessed that her dead sister was not dead,
since no vein had been opened.
Blood throbs in my own. A truck
shifts on West Street through the snow,

brilliant under the street light:
the microphotographs, the hexagonal
crystals on black hung once in a show,
caught in their fall to the literal.

Thus had a man entered under
the camera’s hood, to cull them,
for what reason, from the cold:
molecule, cell, sun from the billions.

And I think of the friend who wept at Vallejo:
Tánta vida y jamás!
So much life and never!
Her fervor embarrassed, but then exalted.

But the cold strikes my chest
and many will tire and fail,
as always some must in the account,
when night falls like a sheet to the face.

And what shall be said for whoever
had no more to say to that sky:
so clear now, as thought I were young
on that bridge to its stars.

As I walk the street home, toward a sun
that burns and is consumed—
that first power of the light,
coming in the dark, hours from now.


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