Tuesday Oct 17

Eleanor-Lerman.jpg Eleanor Lerman is the author of four books of poetry, Armed Love, Wesleyan University Press, 1973; Come the Sweet By and By, University of Massachusetts Press, 1975; The Mystery of Meteors; Sarabande Books 2001; and Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds, Sarabande Books 2005. Her fifth collection of poetry, The Sensual World Re-emerges, will be published by Sarabande in 2010. She has also authored two collections of short stories Observers and Other Stories, Artemis Press 2002, and The Blonde on the Train, Mayapple Press, 2009. She has been nominated for a National Book Award, received grants from the Puffin Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and won the 2006 Lenore Marshall Prize for the year’s best book for poetry for Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds. She is a lifelong New Yorker.

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The Marfa Lights
 
Before she died
this girl we knew said
Well, alright, at least
I got to see the Marfa Lights
because, in fact, she had
 
When we added that to her
farewell Facebook page
we received messages of confusion
from as far away as the Yucatan
 
so we had to explain that in
West Texas, where this girl
was from, the earth sometimes
throws up balls of fiery light
 
that bounce around the sky
like big baby toys
or slide between the stars
with what many have said
 
is a marked resemblance
to the angry eyes of a
spirit lizard hungry to regain
what he has lost
 
Immediately, a thousand tweets
poured in: Is that a sign?
our community wondered
Should fear, confusion, rule the day?
But being who we are,
 
we already had an answer.
Of course not, we responded,
using not only the latest technology
but all the old, underground methods
that we love so well
 
A sign would mean “The next thing
you hear will be our instructions,”
and everybody knows that we
don’t listen to those anymore
 
A sign would mean
that we should prepare
and hey, we couldn’t be
any more ready than we are today
 
So it is our opinion that
the Marfa Lights should, instead,
be categorized as a mere phenomenon
 
and out there in the dark and
troubled world, a billion, zillion
members of the community
passed on this sliver of enlightenment:
 
It’s just Our Sponsor, doling out
more of those unexplained
interjections into the daily grind
that mean nothing to anyone
 
until you make the effort
to think about them
And dead or alive, we have
been thinking, long and hard
 
though we will not reveal
our conclusions until
the End of Times, which has
been scheduled repeatedly
 
and then canceled because
no one can imagine
what we would do
without each other
 
without these comings and
goings, and the little gasp
of recognition that is all
we are allowed to leave behind