Meena Alexander and Ishion Hutchinson
Posted in 2011–2012 Readings and Talks
January 24, 2012
Seminar 5:00 PM | Lannan Center (New North 408)
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge
— Meena Alexander
I was young when you came to me.
Each thing rings its turn,
you sang in my ear, a slip of a thing
dressed like a convent girl–
white socks, shoes,
dark blue pinafore, white blouse.
A pencil box in hand: girl, book, tree–
those were the words you gave me.
Girl was penne, hair drawn back,
gleaming on the scalp,
the self in a mirror in a rosewood room
the sky at monsoon time, pearl slits
In cloud cover, a jagged music pours:
gash of sense, raw covenant
clasped still in a gold bound book,
pusthakam pages parted,
ink rubbed with mist,
a bird might have dreamt its shadow there
spreading fire in a tree maram.
You murmured the word, sliding it on your tongue,
trying to get how a girl could turn
into a molten thing and not burn.
Centuries later worn out from travel
I rest under a tree.
You come to me
a bird shedding gold feathers,
each one a quill scraping my tympanum.
You set a book to my ribs.
Night after night I unclasp it
at the mirror’s edge
alphabets flicker and soar.
Write in the light
of all the languages
you know the earth contains,
you murmur in my ear.
This is pure transport.
From Illiterate Heart (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2002)
Read more about Meena Alexander
— Ishion Hutchinson
Brailed up from birth, these obdurate, obituary corners
of second life the hospital light ravened solstice
blessed with a caesarean and now we have a republic,
the bread under arm, water-bearer of the sea: Cetus, Christ.
After the blackbird I put on my herringbone jacket,
the feather hummed gargoyles bearing down buildings,
rain scowled down, Vallejo and Vallejo as I hurried
up Eager Street; Thursday, I remember the white stone
in the flask and wild asterisks hissing; Thursdays, falling
at noon, at Cathedral Street, blackbirds falling quietly at Biddle Street.
From Poetry (April 2014)
Read more about Ishion Hutchinson