New York you are and it is
beautiful in the play adapted from the poet
But so Ago. If I’m in the desert
futurely to have nostalgia or loss. You’re abolishing
I can’t remember what. Place your hands
on the muscles of the muscular guy, is that the
body in Body and Soul, that I’m all for? Too
young. You’re old. I could be any of the ones I’ve
been, the destructive warrior, sword slicing politico-
magnanimo man — a pleasure when “community”
is a buzzword, like “Nazi Germany.”
The helmet appears to be singing
though she is in such pain this morning bronze-
age yellow-sands there can be no shadow here
What is killing you so? Across the flatness
a small reliquary, before we ever began?
My own, relics that will cure you of hubris,
franchise, and palladinism — oh not that.
Will cure you of miniaturism. Will cure
you of trying to own, and groom, a soul you can
only be. My father stares at me without his glasses
I’m affirming, he says, it’s still you who’ll lead, as
broken as you feel; for if you were stronger
you could only go wrong. I see you through
that protection. You have found the right face
finally; you will be recognized.
Alice Notley has published over thirty books of poetry, including (most recently) Songs and Stories of the Ghouls, Negativity’s Kiss, and the chapbook Secret I D. With her sons Anselm and Edmund Berrigan, she edited both The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan and The Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan. Notley has received many awards including the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Award, the Griffin Prize, two NEA Grants, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. She lives and writes in Paris, France.