“Tennessee June” by Jorie Graham

This is the heat that seeks the flaw in everything
and loves the flaw.
Nothing is heavier than its spirit,
nothing more landlocked than the body within it.
Its daylilies grow overnight, our lawns
bare, then falsely gay, then bare again. Imagine
your mind wandering without its logic,
your body the sides of a riverbed giving in . . .
In it, no world can survive
having more than its neighbors;
in it, the pressure to become forever less is the pressure
to take forevermore
to get there. Oh

let it touch you . . .
The porch is sharply lit — little box of the body —
and the hammock swings out easily over its edge.
Beyond, the hot ferns bed, and fireflies gauze
the fat tobacco slums,
the crickets boring holes into the heat the crickets fill.
Rock out into that dark and back to where
the blind moths circle, circle,
back and forth from the bone-white house to the creepers unbraiding.
Nothing will catch you.
Nothing will let you go.
We call it blossoming —
the spirit breaks from you and you remain.

Jorie Graham, from Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets)


Many thanks to my curious cat who seemed particularly taken with Jorie’s work, shared today on my Zen page-a-day calendar.

“Later in Life” by Jorie Graham

I step out and suddenly notice this.

Summer arrives, has arrived, is arriving.

Birds grow less than leaves although they cheep, dip, arc, a call across the tall fence from an invisible neighbor to his child is heard right down to the secret mood and the child also hears.

One hears in the silence that follows the great desire for approval and love which summer holds aloft, all damp leeched from it like a thing floating out on a frail but perfect twig end.

Light seeming to darken in it yet glow.

Please, it says, but not with the eager and need of spring.

Come what may, says summer, smack in the middle I will stand and breathe, the future is a super fluidity I do not taste, no, there is no numbering here, it is a gorgeous swelling, no emotion, as in this love is no emotions, no, also no memory. We have it all now and all there ever was is us now.

– from Jorie Graham’s, “Later In Life”

via Whiskey River

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* Graham’s full poem, “Later in Life” found on The New Yorker:

"Later in Life"
“Later in Life”