William Olsen

Closed Eye Vision of Independence Day
January 23, 2017 Olsen William

Closed Eye Vision of Independence Day

                                           —after Stan Brackhage


Dazzled drunks are bent over with laughter,
as truth on some little path,
everything stands for everything,

night is short.

Life and its explosive brother death,
what are we supposed to do
is a question the wind asks,
its fire balloons

rise and waft in loosening company

whether or not we see them fall apart
way up there
where nobody gets hurt.
Sulfurous nitrate storm,

sanskrit of lightning and thunderous wheels.

I never thought to listen,
or I listened,
or I couldn’t listen while I was busy being
your worst day.
To say a little in both of our defense,

Armageddon is ridiculous. It’s just the lake

that crawls back into its blackest self
and closes our eyes
on that big harmless picnic eating up the stars.
Where light ends
our very eyes see
far before we are,
far into our mothers and fathers,

those first blood-drunk realists.

William Olsen has published six collections of poetry, most recently TechnoRage, Northwestern, 2017. His work has received the Norma Farber Award, the Poetry, Northwest Theodore Roethke Prize, the Crazyhorse Prize; and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Breadloaf. Olsen teaches at Western Michigan University, and edits New Issues Poetry and Prose.