Some Quick Readings

Perfume Genius: Describe:

Poetic lyrics:

No bells anymore
Just my stomach rumblin’
Can you describe them for me?
Can you describe them for me?

The lock on the door
Is barely holdin’
Can you just wait here with me?
Can you just wait here with me?

Ooh, his love, it felt like ribbons
Ooh, an echo in the canyon

Ooh, his love, it felt like ribbons
Ooh, an echo in the canyon
Can you just find him for me?
Can you describe them for me?
Can you just find him for me?


Here is Eula Bliss,  “My father Told us Stories:”

People flying around the world in balloons. Complicated questions with easy answers?

And, here is goddess Dorianne Laux’s “Trying To Raise the Dead:”

Look at me. I’m standing on a deck

in the middle of Oregon. There are

people inside the house. It’s not my

house, you don’t know them.

They’re drinking and singing

and playing guitars. You love

this song. Remember? “Ophelia.”

Boards on the windows, mail

by the door. I’m whispering

so they won’t think I’m crazy.

They don’t know me that well.

Where are you now? I feel stupid.

I’m talking to trees, to leaves

swarming on the black air, stars

blinking in and out of heart-

shaped shadows, to the moon, half-

lit and barren, stuck like an ax

between the branches. What are you

now? Air? Mist? Dust? Light?

What? Give me something. I have

to know where to send my voice.

A direction. An object. My love, it needs

a place to rest. Say anything. I’m listening.

I’m ready to believe. Even lies, I don’t care.

Say, burning bush. Say, stone. They’ve

stopped singing now and I really should go.

So tell me, quickly. It’s April. I’m

on Spring Street. That’s my gray car

in the driveway. They’re laughing

and dancing. Someone’s bound

to show up soon. I’m waving.

Give me a sign if you can see me.

I’m the only one here on my knees.


James Tate

UNTITLED (Poetry, July 1967)

Hands full of sand, I say:

take this, this is what I have saved;

I earned this with my genius

and because I love you…

take this, hurry.

I am dropping everything.

And then I listened:

I was not saying anything;

out of all that had gone into

the composition of language

and what I knew of it

I had chiselled these words-

take this, hurry-

and you could not hear me.

I had said nothing.

And then I am leaving,

making ready to go to another street,

when you, mingled between sleep

and delirium, turned

and handed me an empty sack:

take this, friend;

I am not coming back. The ghost

of a flower poised on your lips.

As you gaze back on your childhood, did you live through a disaster? Some of our families might have been? Any outstanding unkindness? Did a friend die? A neighbor end up in jail? I can answer “YES” to all of these probing questions. What might be some other “unusual” questions you might use to ask the self? Surely, if we dig deep enough, scratch away at those scabs, we can find these Mariana trenches.