Friday, December 15, 2006

Jeet Thayil in Softblow

I enjoyed Jeet Thayil's poems in Softblow, especially the poem "To Baudelaire":

To Baudelaire

I am over you at last, in Mexico City,
in a white space high above the street,
my hands steady, the walls unmoving.
It’s warm here, and safe, and even in winter
the rain is benign. Some mornings I let
the sounds of the plaza—a fruit seller,
a boy acrobat, a woman selling
impossible fictions—pile up in a corner
of the room. I’m not saying I’m happy
but I am healthy and my money’s my own.
Sometimes when I walk in the market
past the chickens and the pig smoke,
I think of you—your big talk and wolf’s heart,
your Bonaparte hair and eyes of Poe.
I don’t miss you. I don’t miss you when
I open a window and light fills the room
like water pouring into a paper cup,
or when I see a woman’s white dress shine
like new coins and I know I could follow
my feet to the river and let my life go
away from me. At times like this,
if I catch myself talking to you,
I’m always surprised at the words I hear
of regret and dumb boyish devotion.


Or, as Greg Brown put it:

I'll be happy happy happy happy happy, just by myself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just now got around to reading the poem. It really is beautiful, and the images are so vivid, "a woman selling / impossible fiction [...] your Bonaparte hair and eyes of Poe. / I don't miss you." Yeah, right, of course you do. I'm already drifting off in my head...