Saturday, March 4, 2017



I know nothing about lightness or the inner
landscape of beauty or the diving rod of truth
or any other risible poetic statement. I have not
pressed eternity into the palm of my hand, or
stood in the possession of visions. Most days
writing a poem is like watching a pot waiting
to be filled. You get up, pull on your pants.
If you are lucky, images like a meteor shower
streak across your brain. The best poems make 
Matryoshka dolls out of time and feelings and 
memories. They talk about the ancient world,
or the soul’s rusted-out streetcar marooned
in a farmer's fallow field. This is an honest
poem, and even it is on the grift. It mentions
the Rosetta Stone, a latin prayer Deo Gratis
a collapsed diamond mine lost in the night,
a cavern full of cool spring water to sip from,
a key to musty catacombs, a phantom radio
playing songs from adolescence, a paper rifle
taking aim on a grassy knoll, a mouth speaking
secrets in a foreign tongue. Maybe the poem
is just putting us on. It talks behind our backs
to its friends. I would walk away but already
the poem has spun us to the top of a ferris
wheel, and there is nothing to do but sway in 
the night breeze, waiting for some mechanism
to grind forward. To haul us back down to earth.

By Chris Banks

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