Thursday, March 30, 2006

Archive of the Day

This is a long one, but a good one. A poem called "How to Go Home" by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

You’ve got to go all the way around the Earth
in order to get back to those people:
the luminous moon over a bassinet,
the great shoe widening out to a leg, the endless
torso, the lecturing head.

You’ve got to never go back home
but always go home forward,
ending every day further onward,
away from the good china,
away from your carpeted room.

Out there, on your way around the Earth: true
love appeals to your sense of destination
but does not show up, oddly does not come
true. You’ve read that the Neanderthals,
according to the DNA, were not supplanted

but rather mated with the Sapian
Sapians and you and I are the mix. It seems
this matter of worrying over with whom to sleep
extends backward a good long while,
and so little progress! Meanwhile,

you’ve got to get around the Earth.
Or some other assignment. It’s not altogether
arbitrary. You’ve got to perambulate a lot, that’s
for certain, and you’ve got to come at the origins
of species from an unheard-of direction:

step out into the first kitchen of your consciousness
from inside the squat refrigerator, or come up
from the drain in the sink. Or walk up to that man
in the backyard after having walked away from him
down and around the Earth.

And he still barbecuing! It’s unbelievable.
Sure, the Neanderthals must have mooned
a good bit at the way things turned out,
the brooding brow, the pouting jaw, the pollen
in the grave. But you’ve still got to get out of there.

They were overtaken, yes, but that’s a risk everyone
takes when they mate. That has to apply
to the women in the capri pants spoon-feeding you
strained peas and the guy pausing between setting down
his briefcase and putting a key in your door.

It’s not actually surprising that they wanted sleep so much
that they knocked your chatterbox around.
Ah, well, go in circles around your violent memories.
It is not arbitrary that atoms and galaxies are all described
by spinning one fist around the other. The secret is

apparently in the process of revolution,
around the Earth and up the cellar stairs
to some original vision, to some platonic linoleum glare
in which truth might be found. And yet you keep just going
up the path. As if that could get you anywhere.


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