The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Jesse Ball Poetry 2

Posted on: March 10, 2007

I wonder if I’m breaking gazillion copyright laws by posting so many of the “excerpts” I do. It’s a labour of love.

Autoptic 8

Grief, do me no favors. I have grown my hair long,
as you bid me. I have learned to roll
a coin below my knuckles. I have written down now

years of dreams; much of my life has passed in writing
down these books of sleep. And so you see that I can
no longer turn only to what’s true

when I speak of my experience. Sainted men
wander in forests that have been set to rows.
And here, today, already I have found a stone

shaped like a day I passed in a life I can’t claim as my own.
The wind calls water what it wants to call it and passes
overhead. But water names wind from within,

as storms proceed in hinges, all through the captive
captive, captivated light. Therefore, I show my face boldly
in a portrait of my great-great-grandfather. In reply,

a deep breath in my lungs, and the room about me
actual as nothing can be actual. My hand is badly cut,
and I cannot say how long it has been bleeding.

And yes, I’m sorry, but that hardly matters now.

This is one to be read aloud. “But water names from within/ as storms proceed in hinges, all through the captive, captive, captivated light” sings.

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3 Responses to "Jesse Ball Poetry 2"

What a fantastic poem. I always wonder if I’m breaking copyright laws, then I decide I probably am but it doesn’t matter. They can’t find me! (I hope.) I’m about to do it again, too. But what is the point of writing something if it can’t be shared amongst those who appreciate it?

I agree with you booktraveller, on all points. I just cross my fingers and hope the aggrieved don’t like to vanity search.

[…] I passed it by on one of the display shelves: the flashy cover stopped me, but the tired author comparison on the cover (something about it being like Graham Greene) propelled me onwards. It took a Boldtype review to remind me that it was written by the same Jesse Ball whose poems I found so intriguing earlier this year. […]

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