September 9, 2009
Sep 9, 2009
You are the following dangerous words: 1. heart 2. love 3. mind
4. beauty and 5. eyes
(I don’t consider beauty a failure, but that’s just my opinion).
I wanted to save you because you are all so hackneyed;
maybe some of the words that typically surround you, I thought,
could give you some life?
So for example, for eyes, I wrote: four eyes, private eyes, snake eyes,
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and Don’t Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their
For love I listed Hiroshima, From Russia with Love,
Love and Rockets, Love Is a Battlefield and You Can’t Buy Me Love.
Maybe you were more political than I realized.
I subtracted you from these phrases, then scrambled your neighbors
into what I called a poem, but the end result was a solipsistic,
awkward definition for each of you
(I think I was trying to do something semiotic).
When I was about seven or eight, I found a blue jay with a broken wing in some
I ran home and told my mom, who gave me a shoe box and a pair of ski gloves
to handle him. My mom rushed us to the vet, and I felt so relieved.
But when we called later that afternoon to check on our patient, the vet had put
him to sleep;
there was nothing he could do, he said.
Plato, in the Republic, says that poets must be exiled.
Shelley calls poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
I remember the blue jay’s eyes, looking up at me through the foot-length ferns
like I was going to kill him.
Just the exact opposite, I thought, cradling him in ski gloves.
While we have you...
...we need your help. While reading Dear Modifications by Trey Sager, you might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. We've also gone one step further and become completely ad-free. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your support to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
September 09, 2009