Our visions of the world fade like the morning star, lost in the light of day.
I don’t know who he wants to be, and it’s not because I haven’t asked.
In medical school they forgot to tell me about caring and feeling.
For who can escape one’s twenties or browser history?
She’s coming back, her arms full of the flowers I gave her once a year.
Lorenzo and me, we’d squat our own building. It was the new frontier.
It is music opening and closing, Italia mia, on Bleecker, ciao, Antonio.
Death is a lack, I suppose, and love more so. But I will not falter.
What I really meant to say is that I am tired. Beauty can demand so much.
By Wednesday morning I’d fallen in love with someone else.
God was surrounding the chair, leaves flourishing from a sickly tree.
We fed our dreams inevitable sins, the kind you lie about till you grow mean.
In your postpartum state, your best hope is to bluff your way through.
In search of the life we all agree is so desirable—art, romance, freedom!
Your bookself will appear to find you trivial, its nose deep in some tome.
All the bears in the zoo look pathetic. Their eyes glazed, bodies lethargic.
Euclid stands in front of his lover’s door, open to the last hours of light.
“Leaving for war, Hayes wept. He didn’t just cry; he wept...”
She regarded the world calmly without the filter of her suffering.
Your image is on my credit card, you and the old red, white, and blue.
He hadn’t meant to hurt her. Drowning people will do anything for air.
Up north people hunt bears using gummy bears as bait.
Tears sometimes come in a bottle. Open and apply several times daily.
The purpose of all rules of piety is to extend revelation into ordinary life.
The barman emanated paranoia, the male customers sat introspecting.
In chess as in love, openings could be only so original. But this was uncanny.
Rays burst from behind the mountain, sweep the broad beach.
& I said let there be dark pouring from your mouth at daybreak
A man drunk on the damage he made to a boy’s young mouth.
Stopping it, Cye knows, is like stopping a tsunami with a tennis racket.
Miss Moses smiled, I could take you, buster. Don’t try anything with me.
I was under a spell, those days. I had been ever since I’d first seen her.
The window washer smiles a little and licks his lips. Nadine smiles back.
Definitely believe what you hear about the problems with painkillers.
He loves me. That’s half enough: he’s the only man around.
She sits in her wax like a candle. A woman comes, a woman goes.
Everything white is a white spider. The spider spins regardless of color.
I should look at what I’ve done. How loosely she let him come to me.
The pupils are toothpicks. The lake is a sky with a circle beneath.
I live for now in the second house of having asked a favor from a friend.
I walked that land with him, one and mingling, breaking into breath.
I try to believe that even when cords are cut or people die we connect.
You have your apron on under your coat. We’ve got each other.
You move rocks, run water, check the path of mouse and rabbit.
I lean I stumble toward you hoping you’ve not turned away yet.
He’s gonna change the way we farm around here. Make it more like India.
Royal baby George is tucked in the crook of his mother’s elbow.
The attendant instructs remember, immerse three times.
Bad luck, like the white-scabs disease, can infect others.
We agreed: no hearts, no flowers, just courteous, no-strings sex.
Small valleys and veins give way to a lifted ridge like a rib or an arm bone.
The citizens of Aunay believed Pierre Rivière batshit, dimwitted.
One felt all the poor lady’s barriers were falling save her manner.
Mrs. Ballinger is one of the ladies who pursue Culture in bands.
It had taken Thursdale seven years to form this fine talent.
I became a symbol of freedom, a miracle who had escaped the Devil.
His flannel sleeve dangled into the flame. Pretty soon, I was on fire too.
This is a place where young girls are butchered in old-time songs.
Will you bless us, who are so in need of blessing? The world tires.
You’re safe here. A prison might be the safest place to meet a man.
I saw it on her face that day, a look like her heart would drift into the sky.
Bees kill wasps by gathering around and tightening in the middle.
Song where a house becomes a dandelion in a puff of savage wind.
Have two children to keep around the house in case one goes missing.
I decide it’s as good a place as any to stop, pant & smell the roses—
To get the job, always stay starched, creased to death.
Then I graduate to a four-digit mortgage inside an ornate gate.
If you hear your name again just say, Here I am. Maybe it’s the Lord.
The act of poetry most often begins and ends in solitude.
All the woods are alive with the murmur and sound of Spring.
“The secret to happiness is not wanting,” Lars told the Buddha.
He doesn’t have to lie about oatmeal. That’s the way things are for him.
Just some wine, Ellie told herself. Just to prove she wasn’t chicken.
He was caught. Of course he was caught. He was always caught.
It lay slumped where they’d dragged it, a fright of an animal.
“It means,” Stoner said again, and could not finish what he had begun.
I looked up how much everything would cost. Giving birth: $9,000.
When I dream of lovers, I rarely see faces. It’s better if we never touch.
Sue Williams tells a pitch-perfect story outloud, about devotion.
We’d open our mouths and sink, trying to make an ocean of ourselves.
The moths were the things that invaded, like a bad man’s touch.
I lost myself in their minds: for the moment I actually became them.
Afterward, it was nature that was blind, and she who was wild.
It’s like his bottom half is not man but a strong horse.
Dad was blind until six months ago, when he bumped his head in the fire.
I tell her I’m a woman now, that my boobs just popped in.
Our bed a garden of the littlest sighs of our waking. Our room, abstract.
An expansion into light, or we could have been, or were for a moment.
The world smells brand-new crisp the way an ax cuts fire wood.
He took off his clothes and left them on the living room floor.
You try to confess your crime of turning the world into words.
My stepfather has gone out with a blanket to place over a doe’s body.
You’re going to have a difficult life if you can’t figure out where to stand.
I hear myself giving advice in my father’s voice: Take the emotion out.
We backed up and I kept ripping it at his face, trying to knock his teeth out.
Beyond her ampleness, he stands a small man vanquished.
The division of the community had become more marked than ever.
The King’s affair was supposed to be a secret. But you know how it is.
Another girl like an origami crane, given to a reckless boy who unfolds it.
Cory only hires stoners so he has something on them if they try blackmail.
There was something in her voice, some awful, enduring fire.
I tried mightily, but no longer could I ladle those ancient words into the air.
It was a horrible place because it wasn’t exactly horrible.
The talk was heady, but the conversations were dead-ends.
Our remarks must be tempered by a sense of cooperation.
I repeated the name thoughtfully, then said no, I didn’t think I knew her.
Tobias Wolff reading two stories aloud: "Say Yes" and "Her Dog."
The appetite for self-surrender is nothing new in our makeup.
I could shoot you and nobody would say boo. I’m within my rights.
Betrayal was written on my face, in my eyes, and I knew it.
The elevator inside him begins to fall with dizzying speed.
He’d been lost and tripping vividly on some speckled acid for days.
The night was clear, a fat kingfish moon in the sky with stars.
You could take your pick from an array of rebellions to consider.
How shocking it was to discover these real things were not real.
The heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.
No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a pencil.
Overnight, somebody had dumped a dead pit bull in the trash bin.
Cerberuses ran in packs, terrorizing drunks who fell in the snow.
He pushed aside a photograph of a man with a knife stuck in his eye.
When the population was whiter, they fawned over the Korean.
C. D. Wright wins the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.
We cannot leave it to the forces to rub out the color of the world.
Such longings: Errant. Verdant. To have a good time. And dream.
He pretended he was in his boat, his cellmate’s flushing, Arctic Ocean.
This was his sky, his clouds rucked up over the fields. His country.
One spent the better part of this life writing in the dirt with a stick.