Remember a couple of days ago when I posted the poem by Patricia McMahon and mentioned her son’s poem would be featured on here soon? Well, today’s the day! Conor McCarthy, whose first published book Just Add One Chinese Sister, which he co-wrote with McMahon, came out while he was still in high school. And no one who had ever been his English teacher was remotely surprised, because I’m not sure I can believe there was ever a time, since he could first hold a pencil, when Conor didn’t have fearsome writing chops.
And then I ask myself how should I begin,
Neither sitting on the edge of an ale-stained bed
Nor in some gilded room choking on translucent arms.
They tell you to go back to the beginning of things
Which has always meant to me that ragged repository
Of the heart—but they neglect to mention
That the things which shape themselves there get all
Muddled and fall off the edge of the world on the way
To the mind or to the tongue or to your ear.
And so you’ll see me, sails unfurled to some far harbour,
Unfurled in silence, though whether because I will not say, or cannot
I am unsure.