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888: Catch a Body

"Catch a Body"
Ilse Bendorf

Salinger, I’m sorry, but “Don’t ever tell
anybody anything” is a string of words
I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink
to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract
by laser from the ribcage of all of us
who ever believed it, who felt afraid
to miss someone, to be the last one
standing. “Tell everyone everything” is
not exactly right, but I do believe that if
your mother looks radiant in violet
you should tell her, or when a juvenile
sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles
and reminds you of a lover’s eyelashes,
you should say so. We are islands all of us,
but we are also boats, our secrets flares,
pyrotechnic devices by which we signal
there’s someone in here we’re still alive!
So maybe it’s, “don’t be afraid.” We can
rewrite Icarus, flame-resistant feathers,
wax that won’t melt, I mean it, I’ll draw up
a prototype right now, that burning ball
of orange won’t stop us, it’ll be everything
we dream the morning after, even if we fall
into the sea—we are boats, remember?
We are pirates. We move in nautical miles.
Each other’s anchors, each other’s buoys,
the rocket’s red, already the world entire.

Time capsule: 158:“Scheherazade” by Richard Siken.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
i like this a lot. i'm not sure if it's because i like the poem as a work of art itself, or because i have a friend who likes the salinger quote and think this is a good comeback.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
That's excellent.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
This one is interesting. I adore Salinger, but hate him a little too, I think every good Salinger fan should feel this way and it was great to see the poet take a stab at him.
Jun. 18th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
I don't normally like works with outright references to this/that writer or poet, but I thought this was good, and very passionate.
Jun. 18th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
This one and the time capsule one (and, um, anything else by Siken ever) make me faint into a dead swoon, pretty much. Too good for real life.
Jun. 18th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Time Capsule

I read and commented on that poem in what was possibly the worst month of my entire life. I left my husband and my job in that month, and I didn't know where I was going or what I was doing and I was so, so, so scared.

A bit over two years later, and I'm the happiest I've ever been, and the choices I made that horrible, horrible month were the best ones I've ever made.

Thanks for posting the flashback... I love it.
Jun. 19th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
A bit over two years later, and I'm the happiest I've ever been, and the choices I made that horrible, horrible month were the best ones I've ever made.

I'm so happy for you.
Jun. 18th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
ahhhhhh. just too, too good.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


poetry, exceptindreams
a poem some days

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