THE INNISFREE POETRY JOURNAL




   

 
Grace Cavalieri



WHAT I MEANT TO TEACH

Introduce a world with no end to its story.
Make it believable sentence by sentence,
how the purpose of pain is to locate the wound.
Give your characters a central dilemma.

Do this before you tell their story.
The center of a story is a dream
where all thought has become memory.
Start with a phrase. Your personal vision

will be motivation for character.
Pretend you saw a color
you loved and had never seen before
and it was on a large leaf

and young people held it now
and you wished you had seen it sooner.
Put in rhythm, of course,
which turns it to a poem

but always keep your biography.
Take the map of relationships, hold
it in your hands. It is flimsy
and irregular and flaps over in despair.

Lift one corner (almost damp, it is so delicate.)
See how beautiful it is by human standards.
Reenter through memory. Surrender yourself to words.
Utterance and breath will make up your story

alive with characters altered by experience.
Rub a tear between your fingers.
See how it slides on to the
sweetness of speech.

Discover the stranger inside yourself.
Write to the world. Sleep's mind
will retreat from your eyes. This is what you
wanted from the beginning.


GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

Although dead,
Jan appeared last night
looking  trim and well dressed.
I shook her hand, formally
for the dead have no feelings
and are bothered by
our animations.
She went toward the door,
looked back, then she left, closing it.
I thought she meant to stay
but she was walking through to tell us
she'd be waiting on the other side--
this was her way to say
the person I was with would be joining her soon.
I cannot remember who it was.
I strain my thoughts, to find him,
to warn him.
Who was that night companion I brought along
to stroll through a dream, as
company for me,
never knowing he'd get fingered by the dead.
Who was unlucky enough 
to watch from my close distance,
blundering into my dream like that
thinking innocently,
we were all enjoying the same thing at the same time,
if indeed that was who she meant, and not me.


TRULY A PROBLEM OF REFERENCE

It'll be a poem,
looking at the lines that
go side by side, if there resides a
shadow inside, a form not
too hurried, a little self important
sleeping at the center as it's the only
truth there is.
One day, you'll be
sitting on the edge of the poem like
a couch, and all across the room is filled
with eternity, all the
people you miss, and more of them
than ever, and the couch is getting so
crowded, you walk across
the rug and join them. This
moment charms the birds
as they say, out of the trees
and then I can see the shape inside,
where it moves. The desk softens.
I warm quickly to the task
immodestly forcing happiness
from everything held captive.


FEAR AND WONDER


Hand on the grass

In the woods

Fire in the forest

I was new and went

To the exhibit of water at dawn

The visual sky, pink, white

The invitation of the glance, blue

Thursday away from the mist

The revenge of the gunshot

The goose

The murder

A pleasant fiction this sky

Changing

Blood in the water

Do you think it is really

Dying, cooing

A dream you would whisper

A garden of herbs, grapes, jasmine

My Lord, touch this pencil

Say we are here for the glory of your empire.





Grace Cavalieri
Grace Cavalieri is the author of 14 books of poetry and 20 staged plays. She's produced "The Poet and the Poem" on public radio, which will enter its 30th year in 2007, now from the Library of Congress. Grace holds the Allen Ginsberg Award for Poetry, the Pen Fiction Award for story, and the CPB Silver Medal for Broadcasting.



                                    

 

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Last Updated: Sep 16th, 2007 - 08:34:32

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