William E. Stobb: Three Poems
For Real June | October with Zoloft Trial Packet | Circa Oh Two
For Real June
"It is the absence of god which then speaks."
"The back, the yoke, the yardage."
Folding shirts I am Pinsky
arguing with Blanchot. Here I am, Blanchot folding these under shirts
with no tags now
just a printed decal inside the collar.
All the more shirt, Blanchot.
I don't know my mangles
from my obtuse angles. Here's a
shirt-shape smell texture.
And the late summer light greened
even through two windows
on the old orange recliner.
That takes a while to write down
and I know: what's left of it?
Tip of the tongue feeling. But I don't know feeling.
I think I see is more thinking seeing.
My new neighbor just divorced
slumming and struggling in a rental
with bad siding and bats.
She walked to her maroon compact car
parked next to my gray compact car.
A sudden convulsion
in the four block radius of dogs.
Endangered songbirds in the lilac appeal.
Eight shirts stacked on an orange recliner.
Yes it doesn't
stop. Yes elsewhere presses
threaten small fingers-elsewhere forces
restrain bodies medium, large. White
squares repose in a living
room. These are words for things.
October with Zoloft Trial Packet
It got surprisingly hot for one hour
Bees resumed streaking like flaring
Points and grass became
Easy thinking this bright
Wild neighborhood air
Its own galaxy in the galaxy
So sunny I sneezed repeatedly
When seasonal patterns regained control
One wasp between pane and screen
Never moved while I
Read that poem again about
Wasting summer life in
Is it ungrateful
Season wanting to die
Wasp never moves
While stanzas go down
A cold front crosses the bluff
Now grim outside I
Hereby predict sleet
All the bees unwound October
And decelerated I guess
Then the rear left the longest of six
Legs detached from the
Out the thorax trailing slow
Rotated and the front
Right leg ticked one screen-
Square to straighten the
Circa Oh Two
"For a while I was with a really numb one.
In a drive-through, he tore up a card
he'd carried for a decade and said that was it:
no more caring about that or any other attachments even
to me. No more harmless elevation
of small things like weather or a nice flower
to the status of material. Nothing
would from then on concern him.
Then we took our tacos and he politely
asked the attendant to dispose of the many pieces of his card.
I liked the way he did that.
"In the new empty world
my daydreaming became excessive.
I often pictured bodies with many
engines like cartoon cyclones in the torso.
I heard about killings on the news
and imagined these tight spirals
twisting down, dividing, streaking away.
It's a feeble kind of grasping and I'm ashamed.
I remember the card was a regular business card
yellowed and thinning with some printing.
What it said was 'totally irrelevant.' I guess
I admired him. He seemed
so definite compared to almost everyone."
William E. Stobb has been published in Colorado Review, American Literary
Review, and numerous other journals. In 2000, he was selected as the
Nevada Arts Council Poetry Fellow, and has also won prizes from the
Academy of American Poets and the Black Rock Press, which published his
chapbook, For Better Night Vision. These poems are from his
full-length manuscript, Nervous Systems, which has been a finalist for the
May Swenson Award and the Britingham and Pollak Prizes.