Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing

Excerpt from The Logan Notebooks

Improvisation (Distortions)

Distortion, or, error. To err is to wander.
—Lyn Hejinian, “A Thought Is the Bride of What Thinking”

Today, my voice tuned to a new
channel in a language I barely speak,

said things I don’t think.
This one book claims the author

is dead. But I don’t want to be
dead, I want my naked foot to feel heat

in the dirt of this grass-bald yard.
I want to sit without fidgeting

in the wild silence of grief, to notice
the crow, silver-black as bark char,

eyeing long grasses where
ducklings just hatched, and

how white wine in the bottom of this glass
is the same temperature as the glass

when it’s empty. I want a you
for one reason to attend to these

details that might later
divert you. My gaze goes to the black

bee, big as a hummingbird
purring at my umbrella’s hem—

a dot without its question mark.
Do you want to be my you?

It’s not hard. Poetry is nobody’s
native language. Or the only one.

 

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Aphorism

There may be ruined fences, but there are no ruined stones.

 

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Insects

That summer, all the dogs had pearlescent mustard guts in the corners of their mouths. As the cicadas’ electric purr died, their husks plopped softly to the ground, sidewalks aglitter with shattered fragments of thorax and wing.

Dawn had been researching bedbugs. She explained they don’t only hide in beds, but even mobile phones and computers. (As I write this, I eye the tiny seam between keyboard and key.) Xhenet says, When I lived in New York, my roommate’s boyfriend had bedbugs. She came home one day and said, “Oh, man, I have this really itchy mosquito bite.” And I was like, “Oh God. Just set yourself on fire.”

Bronze soil. A line of black ants, each flagged with an emerald green trapezoid of leaf. I dismount my horse to crouch alongside the tottering single-file line. Leaf-cutter ants, says the vaquero. He follows the queue to this rustled mound, big as a new grave. There, he says, pointing.

It’s early and thinking only of coffee and Ezra Pound, I go down to the car with keys in my hand. On the seam above the driver’s side door, a night-stiff praying mantis. I move it to the garden, wipe dew-damp from my hand on the side of my jeans.

In his library, he had framed glass cases holding many species, pinned to white paper in order of size. Beetles, spiders, butterflies and moths, scorpions and crickets and bees. Splayed, labeled. He called that “his collection.” I guess this is mine.

 

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