Wow Moment

By Alice Fulton b. 1952 Alice Fulton
From the guts of the house, I hear my mother crying
for her mother and wish I understood
the principles of tranquility. How to rest

the mind on a likeness of a blast furnace
framed in formica by anon. A photo of lounge
chairs with folded tartan lap robes. An untitled typology of

industrial parks. The gentle interface of yawn and nature.
It would soothe us. It would soothe us. We would be soothed
by that slow looking with a limited truth value. See

how the realtor’s lens makes everything look larger
and there’s so much glare the floor looks wow
under the smartificial xmas tree.

After studying Comparative Reality
I began Die Polyvinylchloride Tannenbaumserie.
Turn off that tiny tasteful star, I commanded.

While you’re alive there’s no time
for minor amazements. Turn off the sallow pages of
your paralegal pad. I don’t need a light to think

of you. I don’t need a god to pray.
Some things are glow alone. I said one thing you said
you remembered I said. Was it will you be my

trophy friend? Or are you someone else’s
difficult person? I mean the more myself I
become the less intelligible I seem to otters.

I know what you mean you said.
It’s like the time I was compelled to speak
on hedonism to the monks and nuns.

Did I say most religion is devotional
expediency? Or religion doesn’t worry about being
religious, its wisdom corrupted by its brilliance as light

passing near the sun is deflected
in its path. Deep in its caprices,
the whole body thinks it’s understood.

To think otterwise is isolating. When I said
hedonism stressed cheerfulness,
there were disappointed groans. Look, I’m sorry

I gave you an ornament shaped like a hollow look.
I liked its trinket brightness. Just don’t give me
a water tower dressed up as a church steeple

or one of those silly thunderstorms
that hang around volcanoes. See how those teardrop lights
make every object jump? The memory does.

You made me love. Was it exile in honey
is still exile? Am I the fire or just another flame?
Please sell me an indulgence, I begged a monk.

And tell me what creature, what peril,
could craft that sound that night
dropped like a nubile sliver in my ear.

There is no freedom of silence
when morture forces us to speak
from organs other than the heart.

It was something about love. A far cry. It was come to me
unmediated, go to god lengths. In great things,
the attempt alone is sufficient. I think this

’cause I’m finite. That’s an understanding
to which reason can only aspire
though an entire speech community labored

for generations to say it in a fair hand clearly
dated and scented with lavender. My one and only only
a crass color orgy will see us through

the dusk ahead, the months gray as donkey.
See how it grows its own cross of fur
and bears it on its back? I showed you that.

Source: Poetry (May 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2012
 Alice  Fulton


Poet and writer Alice Fulton was born in 1952 and raised in Troy, New York. She earned a BA at Empire State College and an MFA from Cornell University. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (1982), which won an Associated Writing Programs Award; Palladium (1986), winner of the National Poetry Series; Powers of Congress (1990; reissued 2001); Sensual Math (1995); Felt: Poems . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Religion, Faith & Doubt, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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