by Alice Notley

Alice Notley

Nothing will hurt you that much despite how you feel
the stress on your back shapes your insight
this splendid November rain Toussaint. I find
you by your marks, he says
an imprint
But when I summon you, I talk to—I say—
my memory of your face. It's kind of crazy
to others. They're not very interesting he says.
When I first came to this country, and now
I know the language I say, but I had in a dream
spoken it many years previously. That is,
not the language of the dead the language
of France. I took one year of French in 1964
and then nothing but once, in 1977 I spoke French
in a dream all night: I was in the future I
moved here in 1992. Country of the more
logical than I? though the people of my quartier
know and like me, even as I a foreigner remain strange
You do everything alone a woman said to me.
There are ways to care without interfering
but the French speak of anguish frequently
they are conscious of emotional extremity
a terrible gift. It's all a gift, he says . . .
some haven't been opened. I'm not sure
he said that it's nearly my sixty-seventh birthday
today though it's the day of the dead hello
we love you they say.

Last updated September 05, 2017