The Fall Returns

By Clark Coolidge b. 1939 Clark Coolidge
the rooms are chosen, then they move on
the beads are wetted in the lime
the weedlot boils in the blood of one eye
the children first are cankered then they spin

there are not routes, only dials
the rocks are spun together in one ball
the laundry is of rust, the pillow shrieks
pianos all blow northward and return

must be a bath if  I could find it is a map
of all the ways that center intermission
skulls are simply caps for all compression
day’s light raising closets for its dark

I put up the clothes and trail the keys
that onyx knob in vacuum turns the train
pressure on the pitches swaying back again
a world without a heartbeat but it stays

Clark Coolidge, “The Fall Returns” from Own Face. Copyright © 2000 by Clark Coolidge. Reprinted by permission of Green Integer.

Source: Own Face (Green Integer, 2000)

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Poet Clark Coolidge b. 1939


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Quatrain


Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, experimental poet and jazz musician Clark Coolidge has been connected to both the Language movement and the New York School. His poetry utilizes syntactical and sonic patterns to engage, and generate, meaning. In a 1968 poetics statement, he noted, “Words have a universe of qualities other than those of descriptive relation: Hardness, Density, Sound-Shape, Vector-Force, & Degrees of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Quatrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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