Maureen Owen

. . . certainty of being is concentrated, and we have the impression that . . .

deep deeper deep
the flagstone marsh
the flagstone marshes these
the deep
the do you
the do you want it to be true
do you want it to be true
do you want it to be true
do you do you want it to
be true you do
you do something to me
you do something
to me do you want it to be true
do you want it to be true
what do you want it to be
do you want is it want
do you want
does want want you to want what is want any way
Anyway what is want anyway
want means you have to have it or
you die
too painful to live and not get
get what you want too
painful to live you die
and not get what you want
this is painful to want
I want you to want me
I want you to want me this
is what I want
and if I got what I wanted you would want me
you would want me to want you
Then we could progress
we could
progress by wants’ wants
small curved flagstones set in a
rural environment
smooth rounded wants that we can step
on as we walk up from the boathouse
having just climbed
slightly damp and springy
out of the rowing boat
the lovely wooden skiff
now moored on the marsh


Now This Vague Melancholy

Now this vague melancholy adores      me
of hours spent in your facade
it’s best described as she can
if she could      likewise bitterly
since the forecast dented
with our diner window cut in two
     , as if her life

her life dissolving
in what had been agreed
not to tell to one another
what was is the danger
the story of the stories
And      this melancholy.

if then we couldn’t stretch the seams
of our need while being chatty
we could discuss
                           long into noted
all else
sweet melancholy dished
each by itself into a darker ness
where the hangover begins before midnight
& I could talk to you forever
for no good reasons science could explain
for we are two of repelling cogs
set in their motion fast by some diligent
terrain rising flat as the prairie
as a word I fell in love with you then
with a word can such a thing be done
because of a word you said Nebraska
& all the chairs drew back their doors
& all the floors burst into flame
& in the night a single fire swept
swept through it all      & I woke kneeling on
charred ground      & it was as the saint



out of the little curtain of disenchantment the wandering bagel rolled
and over the toes of the establishment it rolled and across the boulevard
of despair and into the city of water where fountains lashed into the sky
and turned wildly their great liquid eyes so that the fair dreams shimmering in the afternoon heat rose slowly to their feet and took a determined stroll about the plaza past the expatriate intently reading the newspapers from home with gripping fingers and thoughts of what it was to be a citizen — a citizen! — responsible and debonair to whom the men came     for advice     and to whom the women came     for advice   

Maureen Owen teaches at Naropa University. These poems are from Erosion’s Pull (Coffee House Press, 2006).

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