“I Need Yesterdays” and “If Only to Look”

“I Need Yesterdays” and “If Only to Look”

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I Need Yesterdays

reprieve thickening

               in threatening

the still winter light

                         encrusted as a high

                                           gray sky in thickness

                         turning in another silence

                                    as in the waiting

                        for the water to boil

            for the tea to steep

                                    in insistence

                                                it is your veins I notice

                                    blueish under skin

                                                disrupting the light

                        as grainy day takes shape

            spreading on the edge of shadow

                                                    spacing out

                                    in the forming of space

                                                or in the marring

                                    of the mute water

                                                withdrawn from river bank

                                    turning over another silence

                                                like the books

                                                            recounting wars endlessly

                        or the bottles with red

                                    lipstick along the rim

                                                hidden among the apartment

                        and there's no madness

                                    but this one life

                                                hanging savagely

                                    in the possession

            of our smallest sensations

                                                in the waiting for the tea

                                    in the many things

                                                surfacing continually

                                    and nothing is ours

                                                            as the bass throbs

                                                through the thin walls

                                                            and the oil in drums

                                                                        along the river

                                                sit under the gray light

                                    the blank face

                                                of the moon

                        pale in the day

                                    and so much

                                                we once coveted

                                    shaved and emptied

                                                            nicking at every breath

                                    and the concepts

                        difficult to grasp

            believing in what they do

                                    in the heaven we’ve inherited

                        of the feeling of learning

                                                to speak

                                    as the broad pruning

                                                of language

                        and we are the turning

                                                back of each page

                                                            to reread

                                    what was mispronounced


                        and nothing is ours

                                    noting the pleasure in sight

                                                and the fact of being

                        in the fact

                                    that to be

                        is to be perceived

                                                without recourse to thingness

                                    where the knife marks

                                                show in the fish

                                    on ice

                                                and we’ll meet

                                                            for coffee to talk

                                                about how to

                                                            be in a world

                                                cracking in spirit

                        where each natural fact

                                    has gone to mulch

                                                and you’ll be drunk

                                    at midnight under

                                                the streetlights walking


                                    and the pressing awareness


                                                knowing that in actuality

                                                            its all grace becoming

If Only to Look

own saturation intensely,

                                       as if in a grey ash

                          slowly saturating

                                       the soft mica,

            embedded to glitter,

                                       though meaning

                          literally but a crumb,

                                    and that terrible

                        quickening in intensity,

                                                to ignite

                                    in provocation if provoked

                                                beyond any semblance,

                                    and those still, same,

                                                simple eyes looming,

                                    tellingly life likened,

                                                through the ambrosia

                        of mists and forms

                                                and the clouds,

                        the fog hanging densely

                                                in the streets,

                                                            where the light ignites,

                                                saturated in its stacking

                                    arc, to mean simply

                                                stricken and exposed

                        in the arising and acting,

                                                in the forming

                        of the treasonous distance off,

                                                            or else,

                                                not only in the breathing in,

                                                            as in a sudden unfoldment

                                    of lung in a light rain,

                                                            but in the transcended

                                                nucleus of iris,

                                    strangely to see prone,

                                                flushed open through cresting sun,

                                    heard as in synesthesia,

                                                ringing like a bell

                                                            in the grotto

About the Author

Samuel Gilpin

Samuel Gilpin is a poet living in Portland, OR, who holds a Ph.D. in English Lit. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which explains why he works as a door to door salesman. A Prism Review Poetry Contest winner, he has served as the Poetry Editor of Witness Magazine and Book Review Editor of Interim. A Cleveland State University First Book Award finalist, his work has appeared in various journals and magazines, most recently in The Bombay Gin, Omniverse, and Colorado Review. His chapbook, Self-Portraits as a Reddening Sky, will be out soon from Cathexis Press.

Read more work by Samuel Gilpin.