National Poetry Month 2023: Day 8

Last night I read a couple of poems from my book The Sharp Edges of Water at the First Friday reading, and I want to share one of them with you tonight. (The reading was great fun, by the way, and I hope to be sharing more work from the poets there here on the blog this month. If you’re in Houston on the first Friday of any month, come on out!)

A Brief and Envious History of Particle Physics
Los Angeles, California

O painted, sun-glinting
mecca, every large, flat,
vertical surface calls out
to me with singular insistence.

Den of airbrushed self-
consciousness, studied
perfection, your charmed
denizens are real, real,

real enough. I am
torn into particular
fragments. I adore
your graceful hills, your

mountains like jauntily
sculpted mounds rising
from the sleepy curves
of the world, your determined

blue sky, your laughable clouds,
your cold ocean sucking at
the hot sandy edge
of the land, your palm

trees stuck up from the ground
like frilled toothpicks,
your all-night pizza
delivery diners, your recklessly

entranced tourists, your warm
expatriate Texans migrated
west, staring in secret wonder
at the generosity of your openness.

I miss you, other home,
landscape of my heart
and welcoming witness to
my strange quirks.

I miss the self I was when
you were mine, I miss the parts
of me left languishing
in the settles of your valleys.

From the top stratum
of violet air above the
hills to the bottom of
every car-studded canyon,

I could give up
each grain of pretense,
and spiral down into your
exquisite, sloping life.


As I said, this poem appears in The Sharp Edges of Water, which you can buy just about anywhere that sells new books. I always like to support my local indies, and I hope you will too. You can get it from The TwigBlue Willow, and Bookshop easily, and you can also have your own favorite bookstore order it through Ingram if they don’t have it in stock. And I hope you will, because wow, college is expensive, and Han is headed there in four months. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “National Poetry Month 2023: Day 8

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