THE POET ABANDONS HIS CRAFT
First to go were the adjectives,
which centuries ago the Zen masters
likened to clouds obscuring Mt. Fuji.
Images were no great loss: The people
leaving the subway he rides look nothing
like petals on a wet, black bough.
Next went all the soon’s and then’s:
As everyone knows who has received
bad news, everything happens at once.
And memory, which provided most
of his subject matter, proved unreliable,
so there’d be no more looking back.
What’s left? He thinks maybe he was
in love … long ago … in summer. But since
he’s closed up shop, who’s to say?
—from Rattle #52, Summer 2016
Peter J. Curry: “In his memoir, The Words I Chose, Wesley McNair says that ‘poets are menders of broken things.’ When I think about the poems I’ve written, I see they come mostly from that impulse—to mend something, or to bring some kind of order to an obviously broken world.”