Don’t Let Me Be Wistful

By Dana Ward Dana Ward
The heat out there this evening
is contained heat like things keep applicable boxes
at the ready then subsume their diverging constituent parts
long ambivalent talks into midnight, all those
glowy Sophia Coppola movies, Prosecco
the sexiest records I know. I don’t feel
how I know anymore to be more than something seeking
my appalling lack of cinematic knowledge, fictive innocence
& something like the break-down of those little boxes
little tombs put their hands up in front of my mouth
there’s a tacitly humiliating eulogy to drown out couldn’t feel
much more stupid about feeling stupid over feeling
stupid, living. Let me go & watch something
moving several images some of them symbolize humility broken
postures bloodshot eyes, intimately talking through this
publicly I am not developing at all but just the same. So hot
outside in the evening heat locking hazy jonquils
& sunflowers dead for two weeks, ridiculously
mournful as I’ll try & dimly think of the last real shock.
I remember disgust perhaps & something like alarm (the phone
going off in the middle of the night) pervasive disappointment
&, for sure, horror, but shock?, as if the heat were seceding from the frames
of its containment thought & feeling & establishing some wonderama
ratios & beanpole features quick to surge beyond the human model.
I know I do the heat out there this evening
will & maybe I should be the one I know who has to stop.
If I have to heal myself completely every time before I start
I shouldn’t be. I think about the god of demurrment in the world
or I think about it later having fallen to its love spell — the heat
keeps me shut up at the table in the evening
at the laptop arranging each letter with the same affectless love
it’s nothing moving Avery born & Vivian to come December
Kermit the Frog sings the Ave Maria while the white flag is endlessly
lowered & raised through the whole master/slave dialectic forever.
Don’t let me be wistful. Let me be the actual heat, forgiven
its severity & leaving for the year. Mercy is just like the children’s zoo it’s real
weird to think about anything now, think how fucking hard
a fucking beach read used to be sewn into its spine
delicious words from start to finish I could just
lay there & die it’s so goddamn nice in this sigh vitrine real 9/11
kind of midnight Friday midnight, lamely shifting in my chair, the fan
that stops the love that moves the world that stops goes out on gold
weeks other weeks it just sits in the back.
It collects statically. I hate that.

Dana Ward, “Don’t Let Me Be Wistful” from This Can’t Be Life. Copyright © 2012 by Dana Ward. Reprinted by permission of Dana Ward.

Source: This Can't Be Life (Edge Books, 2012)

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

Poet Dana Ward

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, The Mind, Nature, Summer, Weather, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Dana  Ward


Poet Dana Ward is the author of a number of chapbooks: New Couriers (2006), Goodnight Voice (2008), The Drought (2009), Typing ‘Wild Speech’ (2010), and the full-length This Can’t Be Life (2012). Influenced by the work of Alice Notley, Jack Kerouac, and others, Ward’s poetry is densely patterned and highly allusive; he is known as a skilled reader of his own work. Ward lives in Cincinnati, where he hosts readings, collaborates . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Nature, Summer, Weather, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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.