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By Dan Beachy-Quick b. 1973 Dan Beachy-Quick
Must I, in this question I am asking, include myself
Asking it? Must I include my face—
My face that I cannot see—through which I speak
This question about my eyes, about the field
Of vision, in which my hands press down these letters
Unattached to my arms? The sunlight
Comes in the window and lights up my hands
As they work. The world is not being kind
But there is the sensation of kindness.
There is an appeal to a rule when we realize a term
Behaves uncomfortably. God falls down
Into grammar and says I am but the words are spoken
From a bush on fire. God is included in this grammar
Philosophy offers to the fly stuck in the bottle—
There it is on the table, walking in circles within the empty
Bottle, pausing only to rub its forelegs together,
In anticipation or prayer. I remember
Walking into the glass-walled museum and seeing myself
Reflected in the head and in the belly of the metal rabbit’s
Mirror-like skin. This was not long ago, this experience
Of the ancient world, reason simultaneous with appetite,
Watching myself think, seeing my eyes thinking,
My body a body that contained this thinking
That I write in the margins of the books I read, a script
That over time appears less legible, a form
Of cuneiform I cannot read myself what I wrote
In the margins. There is a fragment that floats in the air
Floating in my mind, spoken by a voice not mine:
To study circumcises the heart and calms,
The book steadies the heart [many words are missing
Or illegible] if not, to turn away,
Fire courses through the veins [many words are
Missing or illegible] then
Anger, anger. Leaning back in the tall grass,
Putting my book aside, my toe covers the sun.
I am imagining this world but I’m inviting you in
So I can join you. In the old language, the language
No one ever spoke, the language whose words
In the scholarly papers are marked by stars,
Asterisks that say this word exists by not existing,
The imaginary root pushing down from the sky
Into our heads, the root of the tongue;
In this language “I” meant “here,” it did not mean “me,”
It meant a location in which this body I am
Was not an expression of love but a word of
Presence. Here I am. Voice in a boundary.
In this place I am I once had a dream.
Cylindrical seals rolled across the earth
Printing in the mud the image of a woman braiding
Her hair was loose and then her hair was bound.
These roads end at the horizon where I also end,
Present in this world as the alphabet is present
In this poem. *I. *I. Sometimes *I like to stutter.
*I like to think the sky is blue. *I see sometimes it’s red.
More soon on the nature of impossible constructions.  
The man in the moon. The sea rose. The living room.

Source: Poetry (September 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2009
 Dan  Beachy-Quick

Biography

Poet and essayist Dan Beachy-Quick was born in Chicago and raised in Colorado and upstate New York. He was educated at Hamilton College, the University of Denver, and the University of Iowa.

Beachy-Quick's poetry collections include North True South Bright (2003); Spell (2004); Mulberry (2006), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry; This Nest, Swift Passerine (2009); and Circle's Apprentice (2011). He is also . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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