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unwavering noon, self-minus
sun flake on the levels of gold

there are names for these things: rose, brick, plate glass

the annunciation of the sparrow
a gene for anxiety

add hope, fear, greed, desire

no rest but the shade
to which a sun implodes

perhaps on other worlds others walk streets
muse on the weather

psyches built, say, on a double sun of unwavering noon

the balm of such congruence

thick, white, stick bicyclists painted on the esplanade to Chambers

glinting Jersey cars
helicopter blades under a ledge of cloud

alien first descent past the Trade Towers
drifting in on the flyway to LaGuardia

landscape, local, locale: the man-made made man

trying to open to something like days' unraveling waves

blue pulled toward fire out toward the skyscraper lights

ancient mausoleums
upheavals from personal terror

dark pier jut into dark water

turquoise, indigo, aqua, lapis; under the molten, under the bruise of night

blood in your lips
as a man I violated the boundary of your mouth

I say this because in the phantasmagoria
I was woman and man

in another story you turn men to stone

though here, out of narrative, poignant at Morton Street against the twilight

incomprehensible rain under sun

heap-leached haze-gold fused into evening
water's green-grey dense pliance

shadowed face that bends to the shadows to drink and be salvaged

tiered buildings like vast Titanics
yellow truck-trailer's anonymous corpse conjoined to the numberless

a boy swept from the rocks at the Verrazano stanchion
tomb cold draining past Liberty

it need not cohere but how could it not?
without context, for which all are accountable

this is for you of the future: one was here who is gone, into the eigen levels

Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2000)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2000 issue of Poetry magazine

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  • Poet Hugh Seidman was born in Brooklyn (New York City). He is the author of several collections, including Collecting Evidence (1970), which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize; Selected Poems: 1965–1995 (1995); People Live, They Have Lives (1992), which won the Camden Poetry Award; and Somebody Stand Up and Sing (2005), which won the New Issues Press Green Rose Prize. His poetry has been featured in The Best American Poetry (2002) and Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (2007).
    Seidman’s poems interrogate politics and culture, frequently connecting both to issues of the body and loss. A review of Selected Poems: 1965–1995 in the American Book Review noted, "Whether adding new elegies for both father and mother, rethinking our use of napalm thirty years ago, or looking at photos of present-day atrocities, Seidman’s voice contains a unique combination of ecstasy and anguish."
    Seidman’s honors include grants from the...

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