Robert Gregory

2 Poems


Before the rain the doors are swollen shut,
arrowheads are sharp beneath the driveways.
Early in the day, a tanker pouring milk
into the river, a fiery cloud came like a lion,
a man fell quickly into darkness
watched by an angel with a blue spear. New shadows
in the rose, lascivious and green. According
to the old folks, one red morning left
before the rain in a sleepy city in a
hundred miles of grass. A heavy sky that
holds away the ragged cold,
the sweetness of lights and signs and faded buildings,
narrow streets that curve away to nowhere,
skinny old ghosts in homemade uniforms
stand waiting for news of surrender,
the bees are asleep in their tubes,
the firemen sing in the crumbling warehouse
that smells of rice and burley, of Monday blues
and blessing, of the river
gets a little older, of the distant curve
of the world is slowly lit from far away,
of an empty box in the road where a man full of nails
is sleeping, of hard hearts and pretty days to come.




Birds investigate inverted flowers, a vacuum
sings at the far end of the hallway

Darwin talks about the violence of the rain
the gizzards of birds, dust from Africa

The guard is asleep in a chair beside
his small murmuring radio

He says the moon rose early, scratched by a knife
He sees a foxglove in a sleeping place

The cat's long legs are slightly curved, she
stretches back on her bones and shuts
her eyes, deep in her pleasure

He mentions the luminous powers
a single leaf, a person fresh from the sea




From a radio interview with Gertrude Stein in the Fall 1990 issue of The Paris Review. The interview, conducted by NBC reporter William Lundell, was broadcast on November 12, 1934.

Lundell: But how is the reader supposed to know what you are thinking about?

Stein: The reader does know because he enjoys it. If you enjoy you understand and if you understand you enjoy. What you mean by understanding is being able to turn it into other words but that is not necessary.