Bruce Smith

I hitchhiked through Harrisburg once: night and some light dislocating, | A self beyond herself singed by the stars, fundamentally | Not the violent deaths that follow you around [if you were black] but the slow
July 8, 2015 Smith Bruce

THREE POEMS

 

I hitchhiked through Harrisburg once: night and some light dislocating,
deranging the river and a highway which was a country road or an artifact
of a market or a Cornell box and I got picked up between sobs and the wish
for a self to be conveyed and to be contingent [and I was white] and the trip
was windows filled and filled again with flight begun in rain, then begun again.

 

*

 

A self beyond herself singed by the stars, fundamentally
firmamentally hazy, muzzy, unreadable, stylishly doing the same as
everybody, stylishly self-justifying the stroke, the smoke, the childish
itch to outscratch the family, as if that story could account for
anything [gold, wind, water, fire] in its desire to be unforgettable.

 

*

 

Not the violent deaths that follow you around [if you were black] but the slow
white deaths, the time-released deaths like insulin or atoms released in slow
explosions like microscopic pollen, planets of spiked bother, a ball tethered to a pole
swung by no one: no one is a smooth eye-ball, an aperture in the camera, that sees
things reversed, or sees the edited footage, or doesn’t see

[the body cut from the tree]

Bruce Smith is the author of six books of poems, most recently, Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the LA Times Book Award, and the winner of the William Carlos Williams Prize.