By Sage Cohen
Philip Levine claims that there was at least one day when Lorca and Crane were in the same place at the same time. His poem is the imagined moment of flint on flint, as the poets’ minds converged in a small brush fire of tongue and ash before each fell forward into his own, inevitable future.
Stranded in my own moment in time, the electric pulse of poetry charging my clinging sweater, back lined up with the hard bench of listening, I enter the eternity of Spring, where Lorca stands stooped, his pockets weighted with unspent poems.
Each hard knuckle of bud containing a great courage of reckless beauty unfurls itself into words under the spell of my recording pen.
Levine says: “horse cock and mattress stuffing,” a name for a sandwich composed of Wonder bread and bologna. We can take any experience and make it matter: put it in a barn or on a train, make it back-lit or blast it with headlights. I make you a river, so my love has somewhere to go.
I take the word “sacred” into me, and assign it to your mouth, which is echoing my inner ear as the conch holds the ocean. We are blind as a field. I am a maple tree wide as century, your kiss the sun pouring through my green. Time rings me in radiance. There is only this moment of enough. Stable as seed, your hands hold all futures. My pollens drift to dust.
The little note cards on my knee are preserved petals. Levine claims he hasn’t met a poet who rivals Dickenson. We silence our beauty inside the heavy book of Past. These cascading evasions we call time and truth, around which we organize our disappearances, return me to the cross-hatched convergence of afternoon and future. The earth’s thirst for metaphor rains you over my listening skin. I breathe you in, then cry you out again. I write you down so when the river returns, it will know to flow right through me.