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Two Poems

March 13, 2018

These two poems are by Raphael Rubinstein. He was a critic-in-residence during my first semester of graduate school. I had known he was a poet then, but never got around to reading his poems until now. I found these two this morning while browsing the Brooklyn Rail. They really moved me. 

 

 

 

LISTS

 

It's true: I don't

 

even know what,

 

you taste like,

 

knowledge my tongue

 

-- alternately swimming

 

in the bubbling condensation

 

of desire and

 

dry with fear of

 

what temple-collapsing

 

chaos would ensue

 

if it did touch you

 

--doesn't have. 

 

Yet there's so much

 

I already know:

 

The list of traumas

 

physical conditions

 

and terrible failings

 

you have handed to me

 

and to which I have 

 

so poorly replied with 

 

any catalogue of my own 

 

unscrubbable blemishes.

 

But your point was 

 

how little any of 

 

that matters

 

next to the

 

other kind of fact 

 

that would be 

 

added to our mutual list 

 

only at the moment

 

delayed daily

 

with ever-increasing

 

difficulty 

 

of contact. 

 

 

 

 

THINGS I HAVE TIME FOR

 

telling you what I think about the Joselit essays

 

telling you if I've heard Yo La Tengo's album Painful

 

and which track is my favorite

 

and whether we can make another poem-painting

 

and why I like 60's figurative painting

 

and not the Leipzig school. 

 

 

 

I've never heard Painful

 

but I have a feeling that space

 

will soon open up for a listening session,

 

songs ferrying the meaning of its title

 

directly into me, 

 

songs I haven't yet heard,

 

songs or what they represent,

 

the seizing emotions they're tagged with,

 

that I haven't listened to for a very long time. 

 

 

 

Songs I haven't listened to for a very long time.

 

not because I didn't have the time 

 

but because I didn't want

 

to listen to an album titled Painful.

 

 

 

Now I have the time to tell you

 

what I think about that, 

 

except that I can't tell you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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