I promised myself I wouldn’t say
what I expected to say, nor even
something else: but what else?
And while we fill in a few hours
’til sunset, we might ask: why
do we write poems? Hysterics?
The reassignment of a misfit
identity to something better,
green mind for St. John of Neptune?
I’ve been wondering, though
you need not answer. If to measure
time, a thing archaic: a cord
and colored threads tied with knots
that might record accounts
or thread a statutory grass greener
than the Pandect of Justinian; one
knot might stand for a volcano—
though looking nothing like it!
Or the quills of a porcupine
might be oracular, or an artificial
intelligence in wavering copper,
sharp to the touch. And Legend,
like growth of the soil, moves
too slowly to see, unplanned,
taking soundings where a vast
transitivity prepares for the future.
I invite you to just sit down now
(if you have no pressing obligations)
in the shadow of 666 Fifth Avenue,
and as in a dream where futurity
works itself out in fits and small flames—
look at the fluttering leaves
before you, they are simple gifts,
walled off in thoughtless, unnerving joy—
and though they are filled with a gentle sense
of concern and acceptance…aren’t they?
they don’t seem to care about you at all—
Geoffrey Nutter is the author of the poetry collections Christopher Sunset, Water’s Leaves & Other Poems, The Rose of January, and most recently Giant Moth Perishes, among others. He runs the Wallson Glass Poetry Seminars in New York City, where he lives with his family.
READ NEXT IN TURNING POINTS AND REVOLUTION:
GEOFFREY NUTTER “WHAT DOES THIS PHRASE MEAN TO YOU?“