Our celebration of National Poetry Month and Minneapolis’s Coffee House Press continues with a poem from Mark McMorris’s Entrepôt, published in February.
Letters to Michael
Dear Michael (8)
No grammar will console the human
who feeds on utopia, no torque of syntax
will doom the monologue, make it crack
like the spine of a book that hides
a mirror, and my face below glass
pinned to surfaces of type. The outpost
is ﬁnally rubble, although some retrieve
fragments as if to store and dissect
and catalogue rumors of other species
anthropophagi who dwell beside canals
to the north, and keep friendly converse
with dwarves who walk on their hands
the pious men with burnt faces, and giants
beneath the mountains of Sicily. No
photograph records them, and yet some
believe they exist, the way islands
humped on the sea-line in morning mist
tell of geological dramas, unseen
because in the trenches, and we are here, today.
So reading your books, I disclose nothing
of what you will become at the noon
of your departure, when the poems falter
and words are only desiccate symbols
given to a mimesis of power. Empty on stage
as perfume that is dreamt of in Créole
islands by a poet, my experiment of echo
bells it is time to concede the limit.
The nouns have gone in. The lexicon wavers.
This was foretold long ago by the seers
and mutes of my country, whom I consulted.
From Entrepôt by Mark McMorris. Copyright © 2010 by Mark McMorris.
Published by Coffee House Press: www.coffeehousepress.org.
Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.