Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Poetry in Motion, Day 17 (Hal Sirowitz) Two-for-Tuesday Bonus

This poem is by Hal Sirowitz. He signed this for me at a reading in New York on May 27, 2000, at the Tribes Gallery in the East Village for a launch, under-attended launch party for the KGB Bar Reader. David Lehman and Elaine Equi were also in attendance.

I Finally Managed to Speak to Her

She was sitting across from me
on the bus. I said, "The trees
look so much greener in this part
of the country. In New York City
everything looks so drab." She said,
"It looks the same to me. Show me
a tree that's different." "That one,"
I said. "Which one?" she said.
"It's too late," I said; "we already
passed it." "When you find another one,"
she said, "let me know." And then
she went back to reading her book.

His inscription on the poster refers to a poem of his that we discussed briefly before he signed it. The poem he is referring to is from his book Mother Said and is called

Chopped-Off Arm

Don't stick your arm out of the window, Mother said.
Another car can sneak upbehind us, & chop it off.
Then your father will have to stop,
stick the severed piece in the trunk, & drive you to the hospital.
It's not like the parts of your telescope that snap back on.
A doctor will have to sew it.
You won't be able to wear short sleeves.
You won't want anyone to see the stitches.

Thus the inscription, "To Bill/Keep your arm in the window".

Previous BillyBlog Poetry in Motion posts:

from "My Grandmother's New York Apartment" by Elizabeth Alexander (Day 1)
from "A Bouquet" by Bei Dao (Day 2)
"Separation" by W.S. Merwin (Day 3)
"The Groundfall Pear" by Jane Hirshfield (Day 4)
"For Friendship" by Robert Creeley (Day 5)
from "Crazy Horse Speaks" by Sherman Alexie (Day 6)
"Hunger" by Billy Collins (Day 7)
from "Little Man Around the House" by Yusef Komunyakaa (Day 8)
"The Loon on Oak-Head Pond" by Mary Oliver (Day 9)
from "I Am Vertical" by Sylvia Plath (Day 10 - part 1)
"Two Haiku" by
Kobayashi Issa (Robert Hass, trans.) (Day 10 - part 2)
"you say 'i will come' " by Lady Otomo No Sakanoe (Kenneth Rexroth, trans.) (Day 11)
"You Called Me Corazón" by Sandra Cisneros (Day 12)
"Too Much Heat, Too Much Work" by Tu Fu (Carolyn Kizer, trans.) (Day 13)
"Sew" by Donald Hall (Day 14)
"Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden (Day 15)
"Luck" by Langston Hughes (Day 16)
"0˚" by Elizabeth Spires (Day 17 - part 1)

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