A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Monday, April 1, 2013

from Time Travel: 1922

Below is the first stanza of the first section of a long, serial poem based on the language of Booth Tarkington's Alice Adams, which won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1922. You can check out the full text here and read more about the project here.
I guess April made a mistake
by forgetting the lank plasticity
of May, the sauciness of the month——
its sprightly nerves
and gumption.
digestions of the day before
merged with the growing rumblings of the morrow.
There were no traces of novelty
across the swampish surface of the mirror:
only, at the still center of the frame,
a night-light
which dreamed with opened eyes
of underground machinery
trembling with the painful pleasure of introspection.
A unanimous citizenship
vanished and suggested its opposite,
open windows resentfully goaded out of disregard.
In spite of your voice clasped to night's
emaciated silence, you thought it would be better
if some single great creature
could dislodge the miraculous from the impossible
and break the pathetic water-pitcher of a sick man's sick man.
Shielded from the matter-of-course moment,
not knowing may, in fact, stand
with stubborn pride on the flat plain of reason
like a clay face about to casually hum, half-buried
beneath a glimmering temple of glass.
Of course, for the poison mosquitoes and their voluminous
night-work to sober down,
you just have to be a good boy and get some sleep.

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