Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Michael Palmer


They tell each other stories,
lies composed as dreams and
always in the colors of
dreams: rust, chrome yellow, coral,
chemical green. Of the dying
figures, loosely assembled, by a
riverbank.  The gatehouse.  A journey
by train through beautiful countryside,
indescribable countryside. I was there
cut in half, only to
survive. A young dancer, standing
at the third-floor window. Cobalt
blue, argentine, bone white. What
we called that hour in
those days. He means to
say that on that same
hill Goethe and Eckermann would
sometimes walk. "Always the old
story, always the old bed
of the sea!" He means
to say, The music of
moths, the small lamps. She
stares from the window on
the third floor, toward the
square below. He says, These
are yellow-hammers and sparrows, but
there are no larks. Come
Whitsuntide, the mockingbird and the
yellow thrush will arrive. Here
at the heart, a small
pond, stagnant in the shadow
of smoke. The late flowers.

© 1996 from Four Kitaj Studies