Volume 9 (Spring 2015)

David Bartone


                                                          I don't

want to turn entirely on longing

                                                     just because it is recognized

as something to be written

                                             from. I want to be forgiven like

everybody else for my losses

                                                which have names not worth

mentioning, and for my abuses.

                                                    Not that the poem should

be kept free of them, that if I

                                                thirty-four years old, typing

half-naked with a cat curled

                                               at my arm recognize them at all

it's hard to say what songless

                                                 creature will pour out. I am

trying to avoid

                        using my father's rampant words to describe

my father's absent longing.

                                             I can hide behind a generation

of genre and academy,

                                      here sweating. I would draw up

forests of want and block-houses of it

                                                              until the record

of from where the rag-tag want

                                                   had been born has been

cut off, untraceable,

                                 to hide within. Perhaps he would live

instead an elder of his wisdom-hut

                                                         mind-heaving and I

would cultivate his experience for him

                                                               instead of endless mis-

translating. The poet

                                  has no whereabouts he doesn't belong,

and I belong most at home

                                           thinking homestead. The powers

of observation are quickened

                                             by desire riding the shrinking

of the world. I know

                                  the poem of the farm may be

a malefactor-mind

                               hung in a cage from a tree. One feels want

to be the most important portion

                                                     of a poem whose beauty

is naivete. What is a tame thought?

                                                         The yellow bunny

I swear is busking

                              for more fortune of creation and with

what coins I can pay

                                  I do not know. She peeks from under

the cordwood pallet, noting

                                           some scratch of Nature's

transaction. I hear her. I do not know

                                                            the form of a chapter,

which is what

                        I wish to write for her, the nibbles now

of plantain grass and what looks

                                                     like wild raspberry leaf.

Sometimes I love the creature only

                                                         for the ways it is not

photograph-trampled. It lives

                                                no known vanity. What Van

Gogh says,

                   "I study nature, so as not to do foolish things."

To remain reasonable, as if one already were,

                                                                          in a world....




David Bartone is the author of Practice on Mountains, a 2013 Sawtooth Poetry Prize winner (Ahsahta Press). He lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

On Libations: "Hmm. A Woodford Reserve, double oaked. I think of a pecan pie that calls for a splash of it, actually."