We Can Walk Towards the Future As Towards a Luminous City
with the conversations
no one else is using.
about exceptional children,
and eat some animal protein.
Dress yourself in the dark.
when he’s looking
for the mail.
Strength is one goal,
and not tripping on the way up
the stairs is another.
the things you begin.
If the world feels like
it will shake you,
wear your puffy windbreaker
indoors. Now a stranger
could bump you in a doorway
and you might not even feel it.
Go through your receipts,
and you’ll learn who you are.
If someone you know
asks you who you are
you can say nothing
and put on
Instead of doing your laundry,
you can put your quarters
in a gumball machine.
Instead of calling her,
you can sleep.
Instead of lying,
you can just tell him
Summer in the First Days
Mint is exquisite
and a poem is a thing
that keeps me from moving around.
Writing a poem
is wrapping a shining insect of the enchanted morning
and enjoying the urgent and tiny
flashes of purple.
Everything I want to tell you
would make a wonderful sound
hitting your windowpane,
aren’t a natural thing.
There was the time I bound my arms
and then tried to hold out my hands,
and then was sad when
I couldn’t hold out my hands.
What is love, we ask,
and the woman
on the telephone says,
Oh, nothing much,
I just got back from the store.
Hello, poet. I read your book again today,
and with Houston finally being
what I want it to be (windy
and piled with the bodies of pumpkins)
I have to say I felt
alone. Alone is a proud
and quiet feeling where I am everything
and everything is a cluster of four pumpkin-colored
leaves on a tree still green in October.
There are several white berries
in the leaves where to live
in Houston is to hear the cries
of neighborhood beautification machines
which only sound human if my friends
are away. People say people are hard
to understand, but those people
aren’t paying attention.
In Houston, I explore
the alleys of Chinatown alone.
Tablecloths, flowers, and trash mean
someone is having a wedding.
Thanks to sudden parade
of sirens, the nearby restaurant
won’t burn after all; maybe after,
everyone will put on nicer clothes
and come celebrate the marriage.
The world will always burn and be
flooded with aid. In their colors, four leaves
in October are dying and celebrating.
I, myself, any one of us could say,
am a marriage.
HANNAH GAMBLE is the author of Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, selected by Bernadette Mayer for the 2011 National Poetry Series and to be published by Fence in 2012. Her poems and interviews appear or are forthcoming in APR, jubilat, Poetry, The Laurel Review, Indiana Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere. She teaches at The University of Wisconsin-Parkside and lives in Chicago.