A native of Johnstown, NY, I've lived in Ripon, WI for the past 28 years, where I teach literature and writing at Ripon College. I've published six collections of poetry, including Stutter Monkand Second Wind; I also co-edited (with Kate Sontag) the essay anthology After Confession: Poetry as Confession. Essays, reviews, and individual poems have appeared widely, both in print and online. In recent years I've spent nearly as much time on photography as poetry. A gallery of my work is online here: http://instagram.com/doctorjazz
Home Movie, 1930
Every cross-eyed, ragged kid you see,
goofing on the porch, every mutt fetching
his black stick, every father, uncle,
or grandmother—they're all dead now,
gone historical, having ridden
their tipsy bikes down William Street hill
and away, having steered their Packards
up the narrowing lane till it turned
into gravel and grass and restless dust.
Swing sets rusted to scrap and hauled off,
elms cut down one by one by one, old barn
demolished where the new shed has sprouted—
we cannot trust the past to tell us
anything anymore, or even to speak
in the same language. All those sisters
and brothers mugging for the camera,
not to mention their mothers and aunts
calmly chatting in the background
as toddlers stagger after balls on the gray lawn—
all still moving their mouths as if underwater.
On my birthday I want nothing but
more of everything. More damn snow,
more coffee jitters, more wind fluting
down the chimney insanely. More news
to sigh and shake my head over. I want
a little salt and pepper to taste, and more
if I feel like it. More walks in the woods
with my lifetime love, counting deer
as the owl counts us. More time than
a dog has, more than we need or deserve.
More than I deserve, certainly. Yes.
And when the larder is full, the bed
brimful with easy flow, air electric
with all air brings and every sign
on the road leads to repletion and
plenty and copious fullness, then,
then I say more. I say more.
©2015 David Graham