NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD Express %26 Inspire Development %26 Publication

Richard Silberg

Flowering Bushes on 4th St.

Being a stone city guy I had no name for those purple flowers

But their color so blazed in my brain dark torches not hot

but searching as thirst and lit dark tripling rich that I itched

to write them But how do you write purple pure see brute excitation?

Seething? Tunneling? But Lawrence and his gentians had already

beaten me to the underworld And those smoke rings I saw

as a kid with my Pop in Times Square sleazy puffs from that

wall-sized Lucky Strikes ad get only their shadow flowers

of smoke blank vanishing Do they spread? Do they spiral?

Do they vixen? The poem has followed me for years like

a shaggy dog How do I say that quenchless purpling?

The Answer

We write at it as if death could be solved

like a riddle deaf dearth earth heart

How can it be that we will have to leave this world?

The other day I stepped out onto my empty street

at sunset mid-summer glow of that wide

breathing sphere

Magnificat red slanting Hush wind whispering leaves

Standing there in planet turn I believed I had the answer

Richard Silberg introduces readers at the Poetry Flash Reading Series and is Associate Editor of Poetry Flash. His most recent poetry books are The Horses: New and Selected Poems and Deconstruction of the Blues, recipient of the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award 2006. Author of Reading the Sphere: A Geography of Contemporary American Poetry, and other books, he co-translated, with Clare You, The Three Way Tavern, poems by Ko Un, co-winner of the Northern California Book Award in Translation. And, also with Clare You, Flowers Long For Stars, poems by Oh Sae-Young; This Side of Time, by Ko Un; and I Must Be the Wind, by Moon Chung-Hee. He lives in Berkeley, California.

— posted November 2018

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