Friday, May 06, 2005

Poems: Blackburn

A few weeks ago as I wandered in the labyrinth of the university's main library searching for a text I couldn't find and can't remember, I spotted Paul Blackburn's (1926-1971) The Cities crammed atop a row of books and pulled it down. I'd come across Blackburn's work in Donald Allen's The New American Poetry, but have never perused a whole collection. I'm slowly making my way through this one and enjoying it quite a bit. Here're two very short poems I thought I'd post by this important poet of New York City, who in 1966 helped to found the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, in the Village.


the heavy pressure
of the presence of your body in the room
O love,
is the end of my
this late afternoon
feeling again at hte window
the sensation of weight received
in that displacement
the small waves
lapping against me


the rivers of afternoon
flowing about you as you
move . stop, standing
afterward in my bathroom
naked among the young plants
in the green light singing
softly to yourself

Both from The Cities (New York: Grove), Copyright © Paul Blackburn, 1967.

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