Poetry is a lonely business, but I have a friend who plays guitar, and when I play bass with him, I find community. My most recent book is In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013 and I've had recent poems in Hummingbird, Atticus Review, Hamilton Stone Review, and other literary magazines. I'm honored to serve as managing editor of the Lorine Niedecker Monograph Series, What Region?. I blog as The Middlewesterner (www.middlewesterner.com), and have put up at least five little poems a week since mid-2008.
What we want is what we want
as we leave behind the shine
of darkness, the road of stars
across the night. There is
a chill in the air, hardness
at the heart of things. There is
the pain of silence as we hope
for words and morning sky.
What we get is another
fragile day holy with
promise of farther light.
Which Would You Believe
Because the world is falling apart
time cannot go backwards.
Because all things fall down
we must give up on hope.
Because we are only an image
on the skin of the universe
there will be no return.
Yes, the sun comes up again.
Yes, the birds sing, sing some more.
Yes, there is such a thing as love.
But which would you believe?
The stars, or your lying eyes?
These elementals — water, the light
spun like morning wind in the grasses,
the grasses, the stones. Oh, yes, the stones.
We are not what we think we are.
The stars know that. All night they tell us
all things come again to nothing.
That we could be the stones, knowing
what they know of folly. That we could
be the grasses, withered in winter fields.
Permanence and transience. Of these
comes the lesson we must endure,
comes the wisdom that is of use.
with his return
O, let the lilacs
come like a dream,
like a ghost, a wind
invading the house.
Not their color but
the frank scent of them,
their marveled breath
lifting us up with hope.
O, to know spring has
finally come and
summer waits for no one.
©2016 Tom Montag