Sunday, March 16, 2008

Four themed poems by Ed Higgins

Four poems
by Ed Higgins
Theme: Regret

The Present

“Catch it if you can.”
--Annie Dillard

but for love

all other gifts
are like the color
time washes
from our hair

we vanish
steadily down

in my own time
I have watched
the present come
to seem forever

as if the impossible
had suddenly
gained ground

and love would
find nowhere
else to go.


she said

what if
I could disconnect
from you

leave completely
this time
not just behind
my eyes
in imagined choices

but like wind eases
through poplars

nothing resisting
not leaf, not branch
not trunk

in strength
to follow
flight’s desire

I’d belong
to no one
not even

sing instead
reachable songs
left me

in my oh
so separate


some days are

minotaur shit on your tongue
smokestacks dumping acid rain on your already thinning hair

your eyelashes pinned in upside down, backward
for lunch you eat the paper bag

you give wrong shaving directions to the mirror
your brain a wingless duck migrating east

full unblinking knowledge of yourself
the Milky Way curdled

your cat unrolls both toilet paper rolls
Escher frogs up & down your legs

Monday wants to be January, or July, anything
old regrets text-message you, urgently: let’s do lunch today

bees up your nose building comb
your head a Red-cockaded woodpecker pecking to get out

your smile a yellow Disney scarf with dwarfs
one eye a 20 lb. yam the other an over-ripe avocado

a small orange dog urinates on your toothbrush
Canadian thistle blooming in your colon

your saliva is once again formaldehyde gravy
all life’s explanations ooze of pinkeye, incurable

two cups of coffee later
many days are none of these.


formation of a black hole

who can quite say
when careless talk & confidence
slips into that other charged thing
so minimal at first
then nova explosions--
outer layers once held by gravity,
other stable Einsteinian equations collapsed
inside to those dense brilliant colors
whose appearance you’d forgotten
completely but for the occasional misty
love lyric on the car stereo
driving down that quite ordinary
road of what passes for life sometimes
or fate if you really think about it
and the song fixes a blind thought whole
foolish yielded-to romantic images
of some damn forever love noone
for christ’s sake ever belives in
except maybe the too young to know better
or those who invented sentiment
to put you into obvious distraction
from the real itself, that lace-work of
gnostic myth and responsibilities
of noone's poetic daylight dreaming
but then each lyric word a god or demon
set to disturb whatever outer or inner
peace you’ve never achieved anyway

and then she shows herself as memory
of arms you couldn’t wait to fall into
your emptiness more lonely than the space between stars
breaking through your crumpling earth-solid crust
your once predictably orbiting heart
but not your heart actually because for so long
you’d given that over to fixed orbits
holding yourself against magnetic storms
of all unknown excitements
such as light-blue eyes
or just thinking about touch
until finally about nothing else
while you weave other worlds
or think they are weaving you--
and maybe they do--or because
the whole galaxy’s nebula-bright
and you can’t see anything, anything
except the terrible grasp
of this spiraling dark starbirth

which you draw toward you
knowing the singularity is your heart occurring
moving toward some event horizon
close to the speed of miscalculation
outer layers having pulled you
with their violent pressures, convulsing intensity
sun-binding longing coming apart
so strong theoretically this core temperature
of your temporal life collapsing
under its own infinite weight as if finally
disappearing from the visible universe
where not even light can escape

let alone you without her.

Author bio:

Ed Higgins' poems and short fiction have appeared in Commonweal, Monkeybicycle, Otoliths, Pindeldyboz, and Bellowing Ark, as well as the online journals Lily, CrossConnect, Word Riot, The Hiss Quarterly, Mannequin Envy, Poems Niederngasse, Red River Review, Ducts, and Poets Against War, among others. Ed lives on a small farm in Yamhill, Oregon with a menagerie of animals including an emu named To & Fro. He teaches creative writing and literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, Oregon, USA.

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