Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Poetry: "[after the murder]" by G.C. Waldrep

Today's poem is from Waldrep's first collection, Goldbeater's Skin, for which he won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. At work in Waldrep's poetry is an intriguing mixing of historical, religious, and humanist terminology, which enhances--particularly in this collection--poems that attract the reader through clearly drawn images. What results throughout the collection are three sequences of poems that are tactile, visual, and entrancing.

[after the murder]

after the murder when men rise into the moon
I will be thinking larceny, I will be thinking spandrel,
I will be thinking anything except coterminous resolution
of the ineffable, I will express this absence as euchre,
I will cast lots for each trick as it falls
in the signature of this or that affection,
I will not meet their gaze, I will exchange my own
excess for a battered valise or else
a spangled trellis, I will dowse for the source
of that spring, the doxic clarity, I will offer cash,
after the murder my pockets will overflow in the soft light
spackling the inside of my schoolboy globe
illuminating the undersides of nations,
the living and the dead, I will engrave an open border
between feeling and action, between trespass and consequence,
I will accept the citizenship of my exile
as they lead me into a wider circumference,
I will raise my eyes to the roof boss of a productive fidelity,
I will bridge the river of my enclosure,
I will inscribe an island on the wrist of my nearest blood kin
without reference to politics, I will vote, I will adopt
the autarchy of a commendable introspection,
I will place one foot in front of the other,
I will spring the trapdoor of my forced amaryllis,
I will lift each pebble from its clay pot as I wash my own hands
in that icy water, I will accept this gift--your check--
though now they take all else from me.

Waldrep, G.C. Goldbeater's Skin. 2003. Center for Literary Publishing. $16.95/paperback.

Order Goldbeater's Skin from Barnes & Noble.


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