Thursday Mar 30

IrwinMark Mark Irwin's seventh collection of poetry, Large White House Speaking, just appeared from New Issues in spring of 2013. His last three books are Tall If (New Issues, 2008), Bright Hunger (BOA, 2004), and White City (BOA, 2000). Recognition for his work includes four Pushcart Prizes, two Colorado Book Awards, The Nation/Discovery Award, and fellowships from the Fulbright, Lilly, NEA, and Wurlitzer Foundations. He teaches in the Ph.D. in the Creative Writing & Literature Program at the University of Southern California.



To walk through the space of a house before it existed,
to walk through that space again after it's

torn down. I'd been looking
at red blood cells on a slide, their oblong, reddish-brown
clouds. This is a prayer for Anne Million. I fed

her once as an infant, then forty
                                                      years later her mouth drooling. When
is a spoon. In mirrors
the rooms of that house once shivered. On the top
of her wedding veil's clip, three blond hairs still follow the wind.

This is a prayer for Anne Million.
The light's won now and I enter into nothing.




When they open the books of our houses and all
the little people dressed in black begin to grunt and whistle,
sing and howl like vowels, the little stick people
making fires from the furniture of their lives, the tables
and doors upon which some now lie, remembering,
laughing, calling for more as the floor joists creek
like their tree fathers the stick people remember, swaying
there when they were all one, the pollen spilling over their faces,
shining like those words called names and the last hours of dusk.



After lunch the first graders are learning how to fly. High
on Milk, they lay their heads down on desks between outstretched arms.

Can you feel the wind puff from each new word?

Can you feel the imprint of letters on their cheeks and palms
amid a forest strewn with thick pencils?

Can you see the vowels tremble like insects on their mouths not yet bearded with lies?

Their hair grows rapidly behind them, falling toward a city
of books on the ground.


Photo credit: Univ. Southern California Archives