Jennifer Grotz

May 13, 2012 Grotz Jennifer



Once it was declared awful because it was brilliant

and then it was so universally brilliant it became awful.

And then we only loved the way they broke their own rules,

“we” including me, but now I think of Monet every day.


He had his haystacks and cathedrals

and I have the two drunk men on Boguslawskiego Street,

in Krakow, for thirty summer days in a row,

not waiting for me, they would be there anyhow,


but some satisfactory click occurs when I turn the corner

and there they are, fucking this and fucking that,

cans of beers, how to forget this, one bulbous in each back pocket,

otherwise shirtless, and if the sun is very strong, they’re


sitting on the ground. Subjectivity can be defined

by how I’ll never forget one of them acknowledged me

by saying, “Good day, miss,” on the day that was my birthday.

Objectivity can be defined by the dutiful offices they kept


even that day there was, for no special reason, a dead pigeon

on the ground beside them, flagrantly so, dead but splayed

in an unnatural fan of rigor mortis. So many things we feel we cannot

write about: love, death, grandparents, road kill, abortion.


Happiness, certainty, irony, depression. What tells me

I can’t write about the personal? But neither the political.

It’s exhausting: a bird? No one can be a nature poet any more.

Still underrepresented in poems: flight attendants. Cheese.


I agree with what this poem says, but I don’t like

how it goes about saying it.  The problem with daimonions

is that they never tell you what to do, they only bring you

the keen sensation of what not to do, also known as silence.

Jennifer Grotz is the author of three books of poems, most recently WINDOW LEFT OPEN. EVERYTHING I DON’T KNOW, the selected poems of Jerzy Ficowski co-translated with Piotr Sommer, is forthcoming this spring from World Poetry. She teaches at the University of Rochester and directs the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.