One end of the dusty shelf
held upright by a solid sculpture
of readings, the other a vase
of dotted flowers, clearly fake,
My beginning, traced through
the words of comic books, then
Michael Crichton, then Kurt Vonnegut,
whatever blared at me on the shelf
or was handed to me.
Colorful panels to creative words.
Lately, a pile of textbooks, some
words revisited, articles about study,
there are always new terms to find.
New wisdom to open up and air out.
The Reading of Fiction
Updike never sold me a day,
but I can get lost in his descriptions.
Similarly, pages of Faulkner can
bury me in dialogue.
I can coast along the erasure
of a graphic novel about Derrida.
Or I can get lost in Billy Collins’
description of getting lost in a poem.
Or listen to the verse conversation
of James Tate.
Then what race occurs
to construct my own fiction, to view
and understand the fictions others
are creating, even as I walk by them,
even maybe about me.
Counting a Freedom
Story of an elephant
felled, a travel guide back
trial after trial,
another culture spread
through words and syntax,
given the hollow voice
of a native tongue, thick
and still rounded out,
a world I have not seen,
a place I have not been,
seeing my world in a newlens at the last page.