Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Jeff Encke reads his poem from day 49
The Water in Which One Drowns Is Always an Ocean
“If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must
keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.”
It is the calm and silence that drown us.
Some people can disturb words
with a mere movement of the teeth.
The pouch of the mouth strewn with roses
roofed with lost causes.
Pumpkins and habits have a smell
and breath is its beginning.
The womb carries on its shoulders
a beggar wrapped in earth.
away love, taking the tint of all colors.
From the well of envy
the child teaches us to weep.
Every sickness has its herb.
Heaven is dark, yet quiet and limpid.
Shovels of earth cannot quench a mountain.
Scum rises to the top of the heart.
A bubble on the ocean
a taste the teetotaler will never know.
Do not pour on the strength of a mirage.
Do not torture thirst with shallow water.
A merchant in the rain saves only himself.
A shadow that always follows the body.
When your cheeks beg for fever
you are halfway there.
Habit is the shirt we wear for a midday nap.
Gray hairs its blossoms.
Hope a pearl worthless in its shell.
Death answers: I have a lot to say
but my mouth is full.
Those destined to drown
will drown in a spoonful.
The tears of strangers are only water.
Jeff Encke has poems forthcoming this spring from American Poetry Review and Kenyon Review Online. In 2004, he published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse (Last Tangos), a deck of playing cards featuring excerpts of love poems written to Saddam Hussein and other war criminals. He currently teaches literature at Richard Hugo House in Seattle.
Originally posted March 9, 2009
Click here for an MP3 of this poem.
Posted by Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker at 9:28 AM