Richard Meier Poems



Golden Fruits, Golden Isle


When I read the sealight I feel sick

and like to think of it, if it were happening now,

how would it be organized, and that it could,

a lack of movement making movement possible,


and a pure fantasy in the present,

and nowhere else, like a configuration

of waves and clouds in the hands

of a skilled maker, turning the wood heíd been saving

for years into a vibration between sleep

and the swimsuit.


Like many sweet things it had appeared rotten.


It offered less response than a rat which left you

that day Greece filled with horror and forced

to retreat to the portable shelter filled with old

magazines, happy to be alone in the period

between the birth and the death,

the most memorable in the history of the world.


The ruins of the new days of summer

obscurely suggest the whole fragment,

the grandeur and perfection of the life,

and the wind called upon to move it.

The tractor on a collection of concrete blocks

and scraps of wood seems more poised than ever.

Thinning peaches, invisible in the sense the peach tree canít see us,

answer this need in the child to wait

to do the thing it isnít capable of,

and in that sense will never be

the dark and extravagant fiction of a beach

that masqueraded as an island, a woman

in dubious relation to her husbandóshe sent him

inland, a few feetóoffering the dull and twitching feet

to the sea, square and perfect, which answered the individual

with the system and the sequence that allowed it

into all her variations.


The name, lacking an object, completes it.

Famously, the blue cloud dissolved into the sky while you were speaking.

The umbrellas became skeletal after the storm repelled us.


A day of perfect balance,

that had to be caused by something,

the sun, that old pun, in a moment moving

neither closer away nor further,

was again its own antecedent,

the genuine secret by which you meant

the one that can only be kept, until death releases

the precedent of terraces, small grapes from a young vine,

dark and viscous, taken through the diamond

of a chain link fence into the mouthís triangle,

beside a steep path to the Mediterranean,

the one sea one went further into the world to get to.





Not Dead, Not Dream, Not Poem, Not Faggot


Dream from the middle of the night I was supposed to write, where are you?

Reggie Clark who wore his knitted hat and head inside and outside also,

who was always late, taught a strange geometry, came to homeroom from the window,

taught foul shots all follow through and saying, like a faggot, no tension, knowing nothing,

as he put it, what survives of misunderstanding understood and remembered as mistaken

in a dream that canít be love, that canít write, because the not dead beloved,

ghost of two weeks, ten years, two lives, or how many

wooden afternoons canít hold a pen to the air to the one in Hades

arms pass through and listen to harder,

exactly, more, because they are returning to themselves already,

as the comicís fake kiss aims his back at the viewer, who laughs later, and later

waking from a dream to the opened oven smell of it, warm from that

and formed, and then its apprehension, to lie awake and think about money

not paid, after thinking the poem not written, to loaf and think

that love isnít love that wants its money, the poem isnít the poem not written,

that the foul shots got better late, alone, not mattering, no man or hat or faggot

in that motion, except as a memory, a misunderstanding understood

in the wrong word and all lost time from that time not written

contained wrongly but contained into a motion knowing nothing, like all poems,

and all poems not written,

Reggie Clark and all the not dead my beloveds?






Richard Meierís second book of poetry, Shelley Gave Jane A Guitar, is forthcoming from Wave Books. His first book, Terrain Vague, was selected by Tomaz Salamun for the Verse Prize and published in 2000. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in:Volt, Conjunctions, Colorado Review,and other journals.





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