One with Others [a little book of her days]

       There is black blood and white blood. There is black air and white air. And
this selfsame lie takes aim, even if by indirection, at the stifled lives of those
inflicting the harm, the lives of witting and of unwitting ignorance, and those
who must live among the stiflers, as if one of them, by all outward and visible
signs one of them, but on the reverse side of their skin lie awake in the scratchy
dark, burning to cross over. Not to become one of the harmed but to shed the
skin, you get my meaning, the tainted skin of the injuring party.

by C.D. Wright

© C.D. Wright and Copper Canyon Press, 2010.

This week’s poem is taken from the book One With Others [a little book of her days], and reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Notes courtesy of Copper Canyon:

Investigative journalism is the poet’s realm when C.D. Wright returns to her native Arkansas and examines an explosive incident from the civil rights movement. Wright interweaves oral histories, hymns, lists, newspaper accounts, and personal memories—especially those of her incandescent mentor, Mrs. Vititow—with the voices of witnesses, neighbors, police, activists, and black students who were rounded up and detained in an empty public swimming pool. This history leaps howling off the page.

C.D. Wright has published twelve collections of poetry and prose. Reviewing her previous book, Rising, Falling, Hovering (Copper Canyon, 2008), The New York Times noted: ‘C.D. Wright belongs to a school of exactly one.’ Wright is currently the Israel J. Kapstein Professor of English at Brown University, and lives outside Providence, Rhode Island.

One With Others won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a 2010 National Book Award Finalist. You can read a short interview with C.D. Wright here, learn more about her at this page, hear her discuss the book here, and hear her read parts of One With Others at this link.

Copper Canyon Press is a nonprofit publisher that believes poetry is vital to language and living. Since 1972, the Press has published poetry exclusively and has established an international reputation for its commitment to authors, editorial acumen, and dedication to the poetry audience. As the preeminent independent publisher of poetry, Copper Canyon Press fosters the work of emerging, established, and world-renowned poets for an expanding audience. Copper Canyon Press publishes new collections of poetry by both revered and emerging American poets, translations of classical and contemporary work from many of the world’s cultures, re-issues of out-of-print poetry classics, anthologies, and prose books about poetry. Click here to visit the Copper Canyon website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Like the Ghost of a Carrier Pigeon

In a couple of hours darkness will throw its blanket

over the scene    she will pretend to read a mystery
                                 the mower and hammering will cease

The bees leave the andromeda and then

So much has been spent constructing a plausible life
she did not hear the engines of dissent run down

Some still attempt to cover the skull with the wire of their hair
                                           others shave everything instead

A solitary relives the pleasure of releasing his bird

There is no sacrosanct version    there is only time

Even now   if someone yells Avalanche    she has one
Thoughts shudder against the ribs and go still

Soon the son would be out running around in her car
with a sore throat    soon the decibels commence killing off hair cells

She checks to see if the phone is charged and then

The ones responsible for slaying the dreamer are mostly in the ground
but the ones responsible for slaying the dream

           suffer only metabolic syndrome

Even now    now that her supply of contact lenses has dwindled
                                she was refusing to sing the Wal-Mart song

The bees would be back and then

All efforts at reconciliation aside    even if everyone exchanged germs
                                         happiness is only for amateurs

A dress worn only once before has been hung on the door
                               the mirror under the cloth receives its image

by C.D. Wright

© C.D. Wright, 2009.

Deeply personal and politically ferocious, Wright’s thirteenth collection Rising, Falling, Hovering (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) addresses, as Wright has said elsewhere, “the commonly felt crises of [our] times” — from illegal immigration and the specific consequences of empire to the challenges of parenting and the honesty required of human relationships.

C.D. Wright has published over a dozen works of poetry and prose. Among her honours are the Robert Creeley Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. She lives near Providence, Rhode Island. To learn more about her work, click here.

Copper Canyon Press is a non-profit publisher that believes poetry is vital to language and living. For thirty-five years, the Press has fostered the work of emerging, established, and world-renowned poets for an expanding audience. To find out more about Copper Canyon and its publications, click here.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.