Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Social Life

After the first party peters out,
like the gradual slowdown of a merry-go-round,
another party begins

and the survivors of the first party
climb onto the second one
and start it up again.

Behind me now my friend Richard
is getting a fresh drink; Ann, in her black dress,
is fanning her breasts; Cynthia is prancing
from group to group,
making kissy-face--

It is not given to me to understand
the social pleasures of my species, but I think
what they get from these affairs
is what bees get from flowers--a nudging of the stamen,

a sprinkle of pollen
about the head and shoulders--

whereas I prefer the feeling of going away, going away,
stretching out my distance from the voices and the lights
until the tether breaks and I

am in the wild sweet dark
where the sea breeze sizzles in the hedgetop,

and the big weed heads, whose names I never learned,
lift and nod upon their stalks.

What I like about the trees is how
they do not talk about the failure of their parents
and what I like about the grasses is that
they are not grasses in recovery

and what I like about the flowers is
that they are not flowers in need of
empowerment or validation. They away

upon their thorny stems
as if whatever was about to happen next tonight
was sure to be completely interesting--

the moon rising like an ivory tusk,
a few sextillion molecules of skunk
strolling through the air
to mingle with the aura of a honeysuckle bush,

and when they bump together in my nose,
I want to raise my head and sing,
I'm a child in paradise again
when you touch me like that, baby,


but instead, I stand still and listen
to the breeze streaming through the upper story of a tree
and the hum of insects in the field,
letting everything else have a word,

and then another word--
because silence is always good manners
and often a clever thing to say
when you are at a party.

--Tony Hoagland

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