By Garrett Caples Garrett Caples

for Andrew Joron

the desire to show is destruction
in lessons forgot before learned
no shrunken heads hang by wires
no mourning songs of half-remembered
shutters open the width of an eyelash
it is enough for vision to run
its finger along, for access to steal
from forbidden shores the still-cold
beams of night and pack them in ice
but a child couldn’t live here nonetheless

in the morning is come a bell that summons
a fortune that reads she will soon
cross the water and the intended instructions
which may not florish after all
she leaves a painting outside her room
and in the morning it’s gone
and not one word is spoke between them
but her father carries it to his grave
the desire to show is destruction
and we are not hung with skins
we must follow internal echoes
commit ourselves to memory

Garrett Caples, “Aubade” from The Garrett Caples Reader. Copyright © 1999 by Garrett Caples, published by Black Square Editions. Reprinted by permission of Garrett Caples.

Source: The Garrett Caples Reader (Black Square Editions, 1999)

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Poet Garrett Caples


Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind

Poetic Terms Aubade, Free Verse

 Garrett  Caples


Garrett Caples is the author of The Garrett Caples Reader (1999), Complications (2007), Quintessence of the Minor: Symbolist Poetry in English (2010), and Retrievals (2014). He's an editor at City Lights Books, where he curates the Spotlight poetry series and has worked on such books as Tau by Philip Lamantia/Journey to the End by John Hoffman (Pocket Poets #59) and When I Was a Poet by David Meltzer (Pocket Poets #60).  He is . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind


Poetic Terms Aubade, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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