Thursday Jul 18

CarrJulie Julie Carr is the author of four books of poetry, most recently 100 Notes on Violence (winner of the Sawtooth Award), and Sarah-Of Fragments and Lines (a National Poetry Series selection).  Her critical monograph on Victorian Poetry, Surface Tension, is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive. She teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder, lives in Denver, and is the co-publisher of Counterpath Press.

Black Friday

A beginning that was already too late
I’m in the cup with the gnat the spit and the mote
All card games produce falling hysterical children
What garden’s left?
Am I through bits of leaves digging?
Not my sisters walking, my brother in his cabinets, my 5,000 forgotten,
not now
Am I insatiable in my need for privation?
But in the splendor of negative cravings
I have not my animal body exposed
You are loved says the text in the hand
Get started with your austere responses
Sometimes I’m a splinter and sometimes a shared catalogue
We drink to the health of our children
Our only mother tongue
I consider the Goddess of “beyond reach” who resides in each fugitive pupil
Come closely to the door where the wind battles
To be thought of if only for a day
Get under
Its ornamental hand


It’s just that the wrists are hurting
The neck as well and the teeth
Are as if made of chalk
Though my intention is not to depart
I am content to allow the fugue
That fugue which the children play
With bemused mouths and focused eyes
To become my antiquity
Because I could do nothing else
But put a hand on the cellist’s angular shoulder
Having failed to fix the broken door
Having nearly failed to return the dancer to her father
While carrying a weeping little girl
Across a darkening road
Where the leaves are turning to dust
Having forced the windows to clear
By rubbing them with the news of the day
Which I have refused to read
Because it shortens my face
Having failed to empty the pool
Of light or the sound of the drum
Having failed then to see in the water
A figure of pure escape

January 2
I thought about the women released from prison
not because innocent, though they were,
because ill. Their illnesses proved
too costly for the state. And about the boys seated in a circle on the floor
playing games and coughing out laughter. I thought about
the cold as a barrier and our need for warmth as a crime
The body producing, by its own need to stay alive
a series of crimes each minute a series of insults
spat into the air. I thought about the women gathered for the party
their lipstick and their babies, and about the driver who is
blown to bits. When we read about that we did not feel ourselves
moved but the mother of the driver
no longer speaks
to anyone. I carried oranges to the
boys on the rug to the boys on the rug I carried
explosives made so small and bright
they littered our walk with tattered paper curls
When mothers arrived they stepped on the gunpowder hidden in the snow
and were startled and cried out. To the boys on the rug
to the boys on the rug I carried
Told of his death she’ll no longer speak, not say a word until
her own. And who will release
us if we are not innocent, if we are not innocent but are ill?