By Peter Gizzi b. 1959 Peter Gizzi
Wisdom is a kindly spirit but does it love me? And righteousness? There’s nothing in it.
  1. To poetry I leave my senses, my deregulation, custodial duties, and to be a janitor is a great consolation.
  2. It gave me my mother back through all her years.
  3. To love these children, so full of neurons and consciousness. What joy to clean up and put a shine on their mess.
  4. To my mother I leave my veil, my wing, the window and time. I, artifact. In this age the hand is a voice.
  5. I leave the voice, the wonder, the mirror, and my lens, bent and beholden to the worm, leaf-work in wrought iron, eerie illuminations and deep-sea vision.
  6. I’ve seen the Eurostar, the drunken boat, and Davy Jones’ Locker. I’ve seen Spanish galleons and the H.S. Mauberley covered in brine.
  7. There is this line from cloud dander to the solo bulb of mourning, a string through common prayer.
  8. I like it when the gray-green shadows suddenly dayglo over the rushes. The wind in my head.
  9. To write is an equal and opposite reaction my comrade, communard, my friendo.
  10. What is it finally thinking what in winter’s dusty alcove, the body tocks. The day was cloudy. The light muddy, dreary when they took it down.
  11. To Times Roman I give my stammer, my sullenness, my new world violence, form and all that, forms, and all that paper, gusts. Little buttress.     
  12. I send love and weapons to everyone possessed with night visions.
  13. When those green lights flash and blink, is that it? When the “it” continues strangely for a bit, then falls into a line, is it over?
  14. I quantified daily the wonder in the grain.
  15. I found I was over and singular yet many, the many and the singular, the many and the evolutionary, the many in the grain. Many more.
  16. Who in hell am I writing for?
  17. This vision is silly, teenage, and mine, a spot on the negative, a hole in composition. I quantify, I loaf, I wonder, I find, I rev.    
  18. Here the days’ mud, night is a satellite, and anger, my cleft, my birthmark and star.
  19. Anger might be a better way to say “I love you,” truer than “how are you in space”? Are you cold, can I get you a blanket?
  20. To the polestar I leave my alien regalia, my off-world headdress. I leave acoustic forms in time, blooming, sudsy, inconsolable.
  21. If you are unsatisfied, then welcome.    
  22. Here there are people working every corner of every inch of grass. The meticulously arranged outside reminds me of ocean and feels old.
  23. In space the letterforms “I love” oscillate in waves.
  24. I lose myself in waves speaking the half of me that forgot to say “goodbye” when I meant to say “how come.”
  25. Memory continues to bloom. More songs about death and dying, songs of inexperience.
  26. More songs about being and loss, being in loss, more songs about seeing and feeling.
  27. If you are critical, all the better to see and to miss it, to misunderstand, to fail at empathy and love, to not understand love and to love, to be diseverything and to love, whatever.
  28. To mercy I leave whatever.

Source: Poetry (September 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2011
 Peter  Gizzi


Educated at New York University, Brown University, and the State University of New York at Buffalo, poet Peter Gizzi is the author of several collections of poetry, including Threshold Songs (2011), The Outernationale (2007), and Artificial Heart (1998). Influenced by Ezra Pound, the Beats, and John Ashbery, Gizzi uses both narrative and lyrical gestures to engage and question distance and light in his search for the unmapped. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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