Upper World

By Rae Armantrout b. 1947 Rae Armantrout

If sadness
is akin to patience,

                we’re back!


Pattern recognition
was our first response

to loneliness.

Here and there were like
one place.

But we need to triangulate,
find someone to show.


      *

There’s a jolt, quasi-electric,
when one of our myths
reverts to abstraction.

Now we all know
every name's Eurydice,   
briefly returned
from blankness

and the way back
won’t bear scrutiny.

High voices
over rapid-pulsing synthesizers
intone, “without you”—

which is soothing.

We prefer meta-significance:

the way the clouds exchange
white scraps
in glory.

No more wishes.

No more bungalows
behind car-washes
painted the color of
swimming pools

Rae Armantrout, "Upper World" from Up to Speed. Copyright © 2003 by Rae Armantrout and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Up to Speed (Wesleyan University Press, 2004)

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Poet Rae Armantrout b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving

Poetic Terms Prose Poem, Free Verse

 Rae  Armantrout

Biography

Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Prose Poem, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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