Autobiography 2 (hellogoodby)

By Michael Palmer b. 1943 Michael Palmer
The Book of Company which
I put down and can’t pick up
 
The Trans-Siberian disappearing,
the Blue Train and the Shadow Train
 
Her body with ridges like my skull
Two children are running through the Lion Cemetery
 
Five travelers are crossing the Lion Bridge
A philosopher in a doorway insists
 
that there are no images
He whispers instead: Possible Worlds
 
The Mind-Body Problem
The Tale of the Color Harpsichord
 
Skeleton of the World’s Oldest Horse
The ring of O dwindles
 
sizzling around the hole until gone
False spring is laughing at the snow
 
and just beyond each window
immense pines weighted with snow
 
A philosopher spreadeagled in the snow
holds out his Third Meditation
 
like a necrotic star. He whispers:
archery is everywhere in decline,
 
photography the first perversion of our time
Reach to the milky bottom of this pond
 
to know the feel of bone,
a knuckle from your grandfather’s thumb,
 
the maternal clavicle, the familiar
arch of a brother’s brow
 
He was your twin, no doubt,
forger of the unicursal maze
 
My dearest Tania, When I get a good position in the courtyard
I study their faces through the haze
 
Dear Tania, Don’t be annoyed,
please, at these digressions
 
They are soldering the generals
back onto their pedestals
 
 
                                                                                                          for A. C.

Michael Palmer, "Autobiography 2 (hellogoodby)" from The Promises of Glass. Copyright © 2000 by Michael Palmer.  Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Promises of Glass (New Directions, 2000)

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Poet Michael Palmer b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Biography

Michael Palmer was born in New York City and educated at Harvard in the early 1960s, where he encountered Confessional poetry. His opposition to Confessionalism found root in a developing poetics when he attended the landmark 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, a three-week gathering where he met Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Clark Coolidge. Correspondence with those three poets greatly influenced Palmer’s early development . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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