I haven't read poetry in a long time. Not because I don't love it, I do.
Most of it.
It's more that most poetry doesn't fulfill me in the way that fiction does. It doesn't transport me so completely. And at this point, if what I'm reading doesn't transport me, doesn't transfix and insert me into the easy machinations of the story, I don't have the head space for it. I want to be transported, taken into another world, another life.
It's not that I don't love my life. I do. But at the end of the day, I want to experience something else, something fresh and unknown. Even if the story or the characters aren't fresh, they're new to me. The plot is not my own.
But tonight Djuna pulled Turneresque by Elizabeth Willis off the shelf and brought it over for me to read to her. This is her new thing. She brings me books, plonks herself in my lap, and sits still for 5, 10, 15 second stretches before she's off again, in search of the next book. (We are raising another reader for sure).
So as I flipped through pages of my old poetry teacher's book, I happened upon a poem that reminded me of being in my early twenties again. Of that feeling that I was living with all the unknown ahead of me. Every day an adventure, every book or movie or song a life I might live or emulate.
untitled by Elizabeth Willis
rod in a small sea-like air, specific and unbroken. I cannot
favor hunger or its alternatives. I cannot describe salt. In
a parallel universe does anything intersect the confused
blossoming blueness of a wall that is not sea, not golden-
rod, but the paper fastenings of you, standing against it?
I favor concrete between our rage and its mirage. Its
broken line. Catch the flying saucer but spit out its metal
mystery. Adore the big green nothing of the past, the
rationing of calm late in the century, like the arches of a
brick heart, letting go.
[image: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), The Burning of the Houses of Parliament, from Old Palace Yard, with Westminster Abbey, c. 1834; watercolor and gouache with scraping-out and stopping-out on paper, 55 x 80]