Just try, says a patient voice. Daddy?
My eyes won't open. Maybe I'm too young.
I root in a mysterious world of warmth,
sweet milk; I dangle in the air on giant hands.
the sky runs rapidly over my head;
pizza-dough clouds twist, stretch, vanish:
I want your skin. I reach, and miss.
Tracts arise, fully formed, to spring from my forehead
like contemptuous daughters, full of wisdom, full
of spite: painfully counting on my fingers I compare
their numbers to the points of leaves,
can't make it come to five. I am broken,
a half-smashed creature too primitive
to understand it's dead; the legs on my right keep working,
but I only spin in place, circling my ruin;
I have become the hand of a clock,
the measure of my minutes.
There is no try, said that miserable green thing,
and I tended to agree, but in that case
What is this? Melville knew a different trying;
maybe that's what we have here.
Cut the skin in careful strips; boil the fat
until the milk-oil rises, opalescent, full of grace --
curded sperm, light bearer, Lucifer: the whiteness
of the whale.
Or of course
you can by tried for treason,
you can be tried for fun,
you can be tried by fire,
you can be tried and true.
Everyone stops – pedestrian, car,
bike, truck, bus: the bridge is opening.
We wait. We look for the vessel. Straight down
through the steel grating we can see the water
gray ruffled by the wind, laced white.
The center of the bridge lifts high: we all float
suspended on abandoned outthrust tongues.
A bridge no longer: an impediment. Below us
something huge, unseen, urgently
needs passage. Just try.
Big Tent Poetry