Saturday, October 12, 2013

I've been reading John Wieners over the last couple of days, more specifically, his Selected Poems 1958-1984.  The poem that always moves me is "Mother," which is below, from his book Ace of Pentacles (1964).  The distance and tenderness, the loneliness, love and heartache.  I've also been reading Will Alexander's book Compression & Purity.  His "My Interior Vita" is incredible.


talking to strange men on the subway,

doesn't see me when she gets on,

           at Washington Street
but I hide in a booth at the side

       and watch her worried, strained face --
  the few years she has got left.
     Until at South Station

    I lean over and say:
  I've been watching you since you got on.
       She says in an artificial
          voice: Oh, for Heaven's sake!

    as if heaven cared.

But I love her in the underground
      and her gray coat and hair
sitting there, one man over from me
      talking together between the wire grates of a cage.


John Wieners (1934-2002): My Mother, from The Ages of Youth in Ace of Pentacles (1964)

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