Academic journal article The Hudson Review

"The Bright Obvious Stands Motionless"

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

"The Bright Obvious Stands Motionless"

Article excerpt


I'd go to sea again. Wet wind,

the flex of rigging, how the knees bend

rhythmically up and down the swell.


Attached to what I join and hold apart

I find myself in all my ages,

not the person in the photographs

nor the one who turns the pages,

impossible to reach.

Books, dry sense, logic

abandoned on bunks, hosed off or lost

over the rail in the squall's havoc.

Glass-out hours, the anchor dropped in silence,

the sound-sharp air cut words from referents.

Suddenly, metaphor

symbol moonlighting as honored beast,

the blue whale in the throat humped and lumbering,

the flawless water taking the sun's heat

while on the peeling deck, the rind of speech

circles nothing. About my head the planets move,

meanings widen.


Say, here, in the leaf-light, how I prepared

holding ajar of waterweed, an unborn thought

I felt the ground shudder at the felled tree

listened to voices splinter the grunt and hum

the click and bang, the slipper-slap

gurgle, gong, the wing-whip

the hammering, a cough, a clearing

a catch in the throat of syllables

the awkward drum of downy words

my dimpled fingers typed on onionskin

on one extended leaf of the dining table.

Stop think. What you are saying.

Who thought the flight muscles of hummingbirds.

Suck the flower.


On this coast, the Pacific at its northernmost,

to the ocean's low gently pulsing chord

I could be kissed by night.

Let it be the end of us

here, where we meet.

Like horizons, let us be

impossible to reach. …

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