Maurya Simon’s The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems 1980-2016 (Red Hen Press 2018, 218 pages) represents a life of questioning and perception, whether the scene is a backyard or a street in Bangalore or the ekphrastic poems of The Weavers or reflections on sinners and saints.
arrives like a serrated wing. / Cuts the medium on which it is inscribed. / Cuts the fabric of the real.
In a co-authored essay, Priti Joshi and Susan Zieger observe that “Ephemerality might be described as the lived condition of an industrial modernity, founded on disposability, fluctuating value, and illusion.”
When we think of sticks, do we think tree; oh / bramble of me; what part of us, scatters wind, / becomes home to something other; how your / skinny bones in drape, mulberry limbs; oh slats / of light, ribs of; & dusk always resides in chest,
As kids, we don’t usually second guess adults. We tend to view them as infallible, since they’ve put in the time that we haven’t. So when Suzie told us that we were going to Broadway, I believed her. We all did. After all, everything we did was extraordinary, wasn’t it?
Our parents constantly reminded us to stay away from the tracks. Parents are always nattering on about things to avoid—eating before exercise, eating before bed, eating in bed, crossing the street without looking both ways, acquiring a lover who is ten years older with an addiction to Xanax, not getting grossly drunk at a wedding and peeing in the azaleas—that it eventually becomes hard to imagine they had any fun in their own probably non-existent childhoods.
It’s enough to sit down in the middle of the street, / the garbage trucks picking up trash, / the school buses stopping and starting, / the dirty rain falling from the neon clouds;
The road narrowed down and twisted as they got closer to the lake. The hot air hit Marcus’s face, and he smelled algae and ashes. He thought that this might be the place. “Let’s camp here,” he said and stopped the car.
Because devotion. Because ether. Because the saint holds a paintbrush, his sorrow. Because the grass may grow sharply, its knives. Because wonder.