Friday, May 21, 2010

add this to the next

The following poem is where the line "Elsewhere crows are laughing" came from. I wrote it at the Sewanee Writers' Conference last summer. Of my more recent poems (those written in the last couple of years) this is easily one of my most abstract. Though grounded in almost exclusively concrete language, the poem's purpose remains vague. For that reason, I don't expect this piece to make it much further than this blog, publication-wise. Of course, that's true of most of my poems, so you never know. The market does tend toward nonsense. Nonetheless, I like it for its stream-of-consciousness pace--the pace by which we normally travel, especially the speed of our thoughts and the associations that come most quickly.

Sewanee from Humphreys Hall

Elsewhere crows are laughing,

Giving each other hell, but the two

That I am watching keep their cool

And peck the earth.

A rocking chair is fine

On a fine day like this.

But mine won’t rock.

It only sits.

My two crows share a space

I’d otherwise think

Was too close for their comforts.

Bat-berserk , those elsewhere crows

Rout each other out of trees,

Only to relinquish moments later.

Such a fine day for July.

Eighty degrees tops and a breeze

That rustles up an October sense.

I think of brunswick stew.

In July. It’s a lie,

I know, but take what you can get.

Come next week, August,

At the latest, I’ll think of now

Like a story I made up

And confused for real

But came to terms with in the end.

Remembering the fiction, the headache

Of setting the scene.

Blocking the dialogue between me

And my crows that have flown.

To the graveyard, of all things.

But make nothing of that.

Or of the septuagenarian reading the names out loud,

The dates—

Her hand is in the elbow of his light jacket.

Or of the church bells donging four.


  1. love your writing, jonathan. i've been coming to your blog for creative inspiration. do you have anything published yet?

  2. Hi, Angie. Yes, I have poems published in a variety of literary magazines and university journals. I have also published short stories and essays. Currently, I am pitching a novel, a book of poetry, and a short-story collection.

    Are you writing as well?

    Thanks for reading, by the way. I'd love to have you as an official follower.

  3. yes, i write, but only as an amateur and for my own sake (it helps me sort out chaos, but may still look like chaos to others). though i joined a writer's group and would like to improve. i used to teach literature, but now i study the human condition in the form of psychology. anyway, i appreciate how you so artfully make the everyday seem sublime without sounding pretentious. love it. i hope the pitching is successful.