Here’s another poem I’d forgotten about entirely, but it strikes me as one I should save. Appearance, sound, meaning — all are in harmony. And try though I might, I can’t find an unnecessary word. This goes to the heart of my writing philosophy, in poetry and prose alike. In economy, there is wealth. I see too that “An Hour from Now” was written just a few days before the authorized print edition of my novel, A Listening Thing, was released. In my mind, that book, which came into being in the space of ninety days back in 2001, succeeds in much the same way.
An Hour from Now
The days are about survival. A man out early,
wishing not to be seen, peddles off with my zucchini
in hand. It’s all for a good cause: to quiet his hunger.
Shall I rush after him? Shall I pretend I can feed him
with the hollow fruit of my imagination? Shall I explain
to him that he has himself been imagined
in these very lines?
Or has he imagined me? No one knows,
no one tells. But it almost looks like rain.
I watch him peddle off — again,
and again, and again.
In seeing him, I am fed
by what I imagine.
Just as I imagine that I am fed.
It takes time to grow a field of grain;
but despair will devour anything,
right down to the last
Try with all your might. Lay yourself down,
cover yourself with peat and bracken.
Life comes from nowhere, yet it happens;
or it forgets where it started, and so begins again,
like every song worth singing.
An hour from now, there could be sun
on his spokes. Who will be hungry then?
Recently Banned Literature, August 10, 2011