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Friday, January 30, 2009


This talk is refusing to be led in the direction I set myself~
Calvino, "Exactitude"

So, a poet's blog without a recognizable poem so far. Therefore, to rectify and exactify myself, I'm pasting in a poem of mine that appears in C&R Press' just released anthology, Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes. I'm pleased to have this poem appear alongside so many remarkable odes; Breathe is a volume worth picking up despite the fact there's a typo in my title (doh!).

The poem is called

Remembered Lines on the Way to Stockton

My father owns the cattle on a thousand hills;

they graze among windmills scattered

along the interstate. Beneath a tinfoil moon

it’s not quite dark by nine. A silver-sided truck

roars, sucks at my passing car

flashes high beams to let me over.

Bott’s dots reflect the headlights,

comets chased by tails along an asphalt skyway.

I have traveled this road all the years of my life

a journey landscaped with exits never taken

into countryside where mown hay swells blonde

against alfalfa fields already regreening

and words rise from wild grasses

like surprised birds or flock along power lines

draped pole to pole beyond the city limit sign.

I pass the towers for a drawbridge.

It no longer raises over its river

the only ship a row boat upended on the bank.

Faded letters on a grain tower

advertise horses for sale. They died

half a century ago.

There is no map for places such as these

that recede in the rear view mirror

and await my return. It is dusk

forever here, with the scent of mowing.

Tonight I drive straight through to Stockton.

My father’s mansion has many rooms,

if it were not so I would have told you.

A sudden oasis of farmyard hemmed

by walnut trees. The rising thrum of cricket.


  1. Ah, the way it was intended ~ an utter gem, Sally.

  2. Nice. But interesting that you are still thinking Calvino. I just finished Invisible Cities. I especially liked Ch. 5, Cities & Names 2 that starts "Gods of two species protect the city of Leandra". I connect it with the book How Buildings Learn by Stuart Brand. There must be many poems to be written
    about how houses are born, live, experience, die.