Recently, in our Small Press Spotlight, Paul Di Filippo extolled the virtues of Graywolf Press, founded in 1974. Poetry has always been a vibrant component of Graywolf’s program, so we’re pleased to add them to the trio of distinguished publishers we’ve already presented in this space as part of our celebration of National Poetry Month. In the coming week, we’ll be presenting a poem a day from work recently issued by Graywolf. First up is “I As In Justice,” by Mary Jo Bang, from The Bride of E.
I As In Justice
Just this: Consider that you are here and there
Is a bar or six at the window and you are dying
To escape. And on the television
Which is sometimes called the nightly news.
In between cuts of carnage, the click
Catches and claims the marzipan
Blue behind it. A hand unzips the blue,
And reaches through and strokes the cat,
Calico, old, and tending to fat.
You know this thin scene
Is lit by the heedless light at the end
Of a harrowed day. Curiosity and hunger
Give rise to wanderlust. Then back
To the program: “If you look at the brain…”
Not everyone agrees but it’s clear
There is an immense power in uncertainty.
There is that story that goes like this:
You were a crime you didn’t know had been committed.
And it’s that not knowing, the sine qua non
Of uncertainty, that holds the person in
Place. I can’t tell you how to think
Of it but for some it’s seen
As an overambitious stranglehold.
Think garrote at the neck. And then think
Of how silly it sounds
To say afterwards, “I was angry,”
When what you might have said was,
“Surely what I wish for you can’t be worse
Than what fate has in store.”
Mary Jo Bang, “I As In Justice” from The Bride of E. Copyright © 2009 by Mary Jo Bang. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota. www.graywolfpress.org