Two Poems

Anne Carson

Swimming in Circles in Copenhagen
A Sonnet Sequence

The palace guards, the palace guards
telephoned to ask for shards.
I sent out the hard dogs.

Dark swallow.

It is no simple red, he said.
Each thread
spun from a different reason for marrying.

Dark swallow.

This sparkle of anyone, all too soon.
All too,
all too soon flaming.

Dark swallow.

Claiming to have no word for ‘desire’,
you brimming burning glukupikros liar,
you candybitter being.

Dark swallow.

I defy you to find those deep approaches
where ordinary air is.
The tough wound plucks itself.

Dark swallow.

Between grief and nothing
I’d take grief (Jean Seberg)
I’d take nothing (Jean-Paul Belmondo).
Perhaps we overvalue conversation.

Dark swallow.

The palace thief, the palace thief
overturned his dear ones leaf by leaf.
For his eyes loved faint things.

Dark swallow you.

The palace vices, the palace vices
are obvious as salt prices.
Poor blue boys went looking for a stark market.

Dark swallow you do.

Only the human can fall out of being (philosophers say)
or dread this all day.
I got out, closed the car door, they looked straight ahead.

Dark swallow you do.

On the palace (stone blood paper) ash, the palace ash
I wrote your name and asked for cash.
Funny, no one grins in pornography.

Dark swallow you do return.

If I dip myself in this acid are you sure
my devils will bleach away to pure?
Giggling and beautiful they stood in the doorway
discussing their erections.

Dark swallow you do return.

Jean Seberg drove off looking for candy.
I wrote ‘salt’.
Funny.

Dark swallow you do return.
Dark swallow you do return.

Dark swallow you do return
but not to my balcony.

With deep love,
your Master.

Spring Break
Swallow Song

One April we drove all the way from Canada to Carolina
my father mother brother and I.

swallow song

Stayed in a motel sand in the sheets sand in the car
sand in our pockets months after we got home.

swallow song is a begging song

Ocean air plush as kissing or the secret parts
of plants secrets were

dropping out of us there.
swallow song is a begging song

open up

Walking through a restaurant all together to our table
past eyes and sugarbowls we realised –

swallow song is a begging song
open up
or I’ll cry off the door

same moment he did – my brother’s shame of us.
We saw girls notice him, stiffening

swallow song is a begging song
open up
or Ill cry off the lintel,
the door, the wife within

their backs.

open up

Loneliness hit.
It bleached our lips.

swallow song is a begging song
what pranks
what small enemies

I like the word caesura but I didn’t know it then.

easily
easily

We knew tans. Fates. Finery! Finery among us.
We drove home. Parked in our quiet

easily will I cry her off

driveway (the forsythia had bloomed). Went into the kitchen.
Stood with our bags. Hum of the clock on the stove.

swallow has come, has come, has come
who begs the beautiful hours

My mother put down two crates of oranges beside the fridge.
Straightened up, hand on her back.

who begs the turnings of the years

open up or I
open up or I
open up or I

Fish sticks for supper? she said to no one in particular.