I found a cache of poetry on my hard drive from college. I know there’s another, buried in a folder within folders, from high school, but I haven’t had the nerve to open it yet; to go diving into that wreck.
The ones from college –– from New York, as an undergrad, are all rather angry: when I was 20/21, I had a lot of bilious angst, apparently. I don’t know that I want to know that former self again: whose shell, when cracked open –– heart slipped out like a yoke. (Though the child is father to the man.)
But this one (circa Fall 2000) I still rather like; this one prefigures a certain wisdom of experience, I think. I remember taking a James Joyce Colloquium with Denis Donoghue that same fall semester I was taking Narratology, Literature of India, Etymology; that the Joyce Colloquium met in a cloistered room on the seventh or so floor of what was then called the Main Building at NYU.
ON MY WAY TO THE JOYCE COLLOQUIUM
Turning onto Waverly––
My eyes were seized by your
only long enough to have been there––
Swallowed in the
You are the appeal,
but not a promise.
At that moment,
like the dancer,
you were the temporal art of movement,
one which did not require my interpretation.
You were a glimpse,
then gone ––
“whose shell, when cracked open — heart slipped out like a yoke.”
That’s my favorite line you (and perhaps anyone) has ever written.