Cinema Verité

By Bin Ramke b. 1947 Bin Ramke
So much I thought was only personal, like poetry,
like caring nothing for Caillebotte the man,
like arriving in Chicago by bus one gray morning
and having no place to go, going to the Art Institute
and the rain outside became nothing
next to the glorious gray of Paris, life-size.
The artist dead and all my life, I thought,
I've liked right things for wrong reasons.

My sojourn among meticulous dreams
continued. One summer I spent among smart children
taking lessons and abuse from the famous mathematician
who taught old words new: point, line, between.
And the long nights of teaching each other other words,
our fortunate failures. And the furious wind
blew down from time to time among us, hurricanes
which turned live oaks inside out like little minds,
mine, for instance, finding its fervent mode.

Remember that you, too, could live where men spit
while watching you and your mother pass.
That you want her for yourself alone.
Remember that those men are tall as God at such moments,
more mean. So walk among them, the afternoon cooling
within its limits, the mosquitoes taking
equally from black and white, true and false.

But there was a peninsula of time I lived on
when our family poverty left me
the couch to sleep on, the great clock
ticking terror through the night. Who can love
through his childhood insomnia? Only rain
could save me–those blessed gray
nights of noise, when sleep, like Ali Baba's
quartered brother, was sewn back together.

Bin Ramke. "Cinema Verité" from The Erotic Light of Gardens, copyright © 1989, by Bin Ramke and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: The Erotic Light of Gardens (Wesleyan University Press, 1989)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Bin Ramke b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Nature, Living, Coming of Age, Weather

 Bin  Ramke

Biography

Bin Ramke was born in south Texas, spent time in Louisiana when he was young, and attended the University of Louisiana. Once a student of mathematics, Ramke studied literature as an undergraduate and earned a Ph.D. from Ohio University. Ramke combines these typically disparate interests to inform his poetry. Of Tendril, Ramke’s 2007 collection, John Ashbery wrote, “Bin Ramke’s poetry presents itself as the product of curious . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Living, Coming of Age, Weather

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.