89 / Glare / Ammons

whatever happens now (let's pray that it will
all be, though it is not likely to be, good)

I guess in my 71st year I've had my turn: turn
as in going from something fresh and new to

something old and fresh, no, I mean, old and
stale: or it could be called a turn through

time, a hand sweeping the arc from dawn to
noon to dusk: this familiar poeticism sounds

okay, but wouldn't it be funny if you could
glance up at the sky and see where the hand of

your time was: the sweep for some would be on
a grander scale than for others, which implies

that each of us has his own sky really, some
little bubbles, some crashed hands hanging there

stupidly in the dome, the arc, hardly begun,
incomplete: whereas, some old fogies

dwell with the setting sun and dance in the
dusk like bouncing bubbles, not staying down

and not popping, either: this thing could be 
a trope, too, this turn, a spiritual thing.

a thingless thing, a giddy or terrified rise,
even in some cases a comfortable and longed-for

coming down: the young look up and see so much
time they forget the moving hand and only much

(two much's) later are shocked to see the hand
leaning weightily west: alas, was that

lost time, then: what time is unnoted time:
well, so, like, we found these nestled nuts

in a closet corner, and, like, well, Phyllis
said, we have a mouse: so we did because

there he was the next morning in the trap I set
but so then we were watching Seinfeld when

abruptly another mouse, like, darted across
the floor, out upon the floor actually and

back, so, well, like, I set the trap again,
but can you believe after two nights it

remains unsprung: I suppose the mouse smelled
death and ran out the way he came, like, gee,

well, it is dangerous: like, he smelled death
and departed: I want to bubble on the brink

provided the spritz isn't pain:

           O HANDS OF TIME

                        BACK UP

Part of Glare / 72 / Ammons

…………………………………………………… I can’t tell
you what I care about: I care too much: can

you listen around the edges a little, if you
care, and take up anything you find and want

as yours: because I feed in the periphery to
secrete the kernel, I have an abundance to

give without end, because, because it opens to
the world and drifts back away to it: so you

can know nothing, I tell you everything:
but everything may surround islands firm enough

to land on or lights strong enough to make a
course by: it doesn’t matter if you end or

begin with me but that you have a journey of
your own: I’ll be the mirage the camel’s legs

flicker in: or I’ll be the caw of the crow
broken loose at night by wind and thunder:

I’ll be around: I’ll be the bark you flatten
your hand against as you lean and look into the

grand Grand Canyon: be on your way (with me,
with me) and I’ll have my way alone to myself

with you: when my journey is done and I am
gone on the other journey, earth’s, not mine,

you will look back at my hollow meanderings and
then know everything: after all, a

trail of nothingness marks its way by cave and
cliff, drop and steep, shore willow and fern:

disaster is natural

a section out of  “Summer Place” by A.R. Ammons


disaster is natural: look at my face: some concession
to gravity: I knew this lady: she did everything for
her husband: she did everything for her children:

she said, sit down to the table: she had the most
beautiful voice, I mean as to tone and range and before
breakfast cooking stuff up: now, she bubbles belching

in terror and can’t keep her tongue in: I can’t stand
pretty beauty anymore: I can’t stand any beauty that
doesn’t sit and think her the most beautiful person

living: disaster is natural: I saw the legless
ward at the VA lots of times, diabetes gangrene
amputations, old boys: each carried a bottle of urine

under his wheelchair with a tube: like gas for the
motor: and just about everyone slouched over and
slept as deep as possible: there was the young

veteran, though: he burned up the halls and
shot the corners on one wheel: he had it down to
nothing how much breeze he could make of speed: oh,

the loft is high and rid of such: up in the sways,
nobody is holding on to keep from falling out of his
bed: farther along we’ll understand why: it is not,

finally, perhaps, ingratitude: it is not, finally,
not celebration: it is that we do not understand,
now: it is that we cannot see beauty all the way

through: it is that we think we would be justified
in wanting it another way, permanent joy: a land
imagined where love would never be pulled away from

love: where mothers and fathers would know beatitude
and touch us with their unconditioned smiles: where
tenderness would be so high it would transmit

light: and love of lovers would be a continual
music, reconciliations like breeze music: the rivers would
be flowing light and trees would sway with the fruit of

light: we do not understand why a place like this
would yield out no design: then, should our beauty
be the dream of the place and have nothing to do with

actual fellows: or should our beauty find itself
somehow perfect in the harelip, the crazy fascination
of cross-eyes or in the wild song of the cancer-mad:

our beauty, our beauty: on what shoal or shelf, ledge
or cloud will it lie down, dwelling beyond rust and moth,
so beyond it will know the worm and have no cognizance


24 from GLARE by A.R. Ammons

I am so ill-stanchioned myself, you
know, just me, that I can’t get on

without like, going to work, getting
away from myself into the affairs

of others, the elevator slowing and
catching still on the remnants of

old floors, plunging easing up: I’m
always hungry for compliments, anything

to bolster me lofty: I consume compliments
like bricks tossed into a black hole

for bottom, a solid floor,
but it all oozes away, undermined

by an oily, massive slip: I
should go in the brick business: I

might help myself out a little: I
should throw chunks of old foundation

in there, the steel rods ciliating
concrete: a few bales of ginned

cotton, absorbencies: a couple of
barrels of sticky-wicky: some jungle

temples: a ridge off the top of the
Rockies: that little peninsula that

reaches out from–oh, well: sub-
continent? where there is no love

nothing will take root: the hollow
will not fill: earth’s walkabout

will not arise: steps leading up
will not surprise: dreams will

not fog off the higher elevations of
ascension: what is left, after love,

to live with? anger, guilt, anxiety:
I speak not just of the loves of

thighs but of the love of another
more, say, than of oneself: there

are those whom to lose soaks direction
out of the tree boughs, prevents

snow from settling in the granite
crevices, makes daylight an odd

visitor: the stanchions give in,
wither like sea oates in a hurricane:

and then all the world cannot fill
the hole which becomes a trillion

miles of nothing

Glare by Ammons (17)


where do poems come from, you may
want to know: have you ever wondered:

do you care about the baby, not the
fetus: if you're like many people

you don't care about the poem, so why
care where it comes from, when you

mostly do care about babies and still
would just as soon skip the phylogeny:

wonder which comes first, the motion
or the feeling, or the event, perception,

connection: oceanward, you could
say that a rift of motion starts in

the doldrums, forms a progression, 
but you can't derive what it derived

from: what unsettled a bit of air:
was it air's own weight, a change of

temperature and buoyancy, or did a
wing slice through, or a meteor, or 

surely not a neutrino, so tiny: so
what causes anything to start: when

is the beginning of anything, all
beginnings begun: well, that's it: 

there's a currency of feeling and it
flows as unformed, if noticeable, as 

a drive, and describes a form of
itself, or else its energy picks up

some body here or there and marries 
itself to that, creating narrative: 

motion, going from here to there,
describes a swerve or arc or salience

and that is form: that is the seed
of form, born in the very bosom of

its substance, which is motion: next
to that, tell me what you think of

a sonnet or some fucking cookie-cutter:
I mustn't become high-handed: I'm

okay when I'm typing like this, tho: 
I'm in motion and the worm I am

extruding has a long wiggle: it
seems to me as I look about that I

know some things well: but they are
about nothing: there is no seedcorn,

there are no potato eyes in my stuff:
my poems come out of a little tug of

rift in an oceanic doldrum: it's a 
tiny little ship, an airship: fog

could drown it, saturate its jib:
who could get to Mars with that: if

I'm not to have a life, at least let
me tell you about it, that is, that

I'm not having it: that will make
me nearly think I'm having it: imagine

a life! of words: better than
nothing, better, better, bitter-bile

better: for what I meant was love:
now, don't blubber: poor comfort,

such poor comfort: twaddle:   

Purchase Glare


by A.R. Ammons

You came to see me one day and
as usual in such matters

things grew significant–
what you believed, the way you

turned or leaned: when
you left, our area tilted, a

tile, and whatever
opposes desolation slid away.