Sunday Jul 14

SmithBruce Bruce Smith is the author of six books of poems, including The Other Lover (U of Chicago P), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Songs for Two Voices, and Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, the LA Times Book Award, and the winner of the William Carlos Williams Prize.


Two After Du Fu

1. I Finally Get another Job

Good, I don’t have to be
the assistant JV football coach

and blow the whistle and yell
and ride the bus in the fall

looking out the steamed-up window
at the sugar maples blazing only to arrive

at some school where I am the oldest
white man in the world and I want only

to nap in the afternoon sun while
the children gambol, while the children

thud and run to concussion
good for visions, good for a sense

of the nation as a place, too, of pain
and the grave of an old man.

2. Leaving Taos

It’s not that grand, the river
but it does its small work

in a grand fashion. First hatch
of midges. First bugs being bugs

and trout being hungry. I leave
my old friend the way the water leaves

the rock, flows south but
each is different now. I grow

more stupid and sad as I grow
old. I want the almost happiness

that wine gives. My old friend
changes the lives of boys who come home
from war, holding them up
then letting them go

to follow the river.
I go south thinking I change

little, looking for warmth
in the change of season.


The sex life [yours] as art form as injustice as conversion experience as excess as
slave narrative [thrall] as pub crawl troubadour as lie as neurological disorder as
soar as fugitive taxonomist as misty poet as thwart and vex as court and sex
senseless fuck [me], stylized porn cartoon foiled as repetition compulsion as
master letters torn as tormented by color by sound by what we smuggled out.


Now I have the substitute for the sadness in the form of the money as the substitute
for desire for the knowing as the form of ending I can’t endure or embody. Stay with me.
How one embodies, I don’t know. The body releases its ink, flees, sulks, ululates, waits
for a letter, capitulates, smokes. I had a body instead of experience and it was miraculous,
a refuge and a question and a thing that did not stay with me and I got away with it.