Sam Cha


Are you outraged, sometimes, that there is no word for each thing. That the world presses into you each moment and you cannot accept it, cannot make it yours, and yours alone. Cannot make it stay. That at one moment there is light and the pressure of light on your skin and there is the movement of leaves and there is the movement of sparrows and there is the single feather falling and there are the changing shadows of cars and there are the shingles on the roof of the house that has seen two hundred years and there are the four children walking hand in hand who have seen four years and there is the man strapping his hurdy-gurdy and the movement of legs legs and the changing reflections of the people on the map and there is the yellow triangle of the patio umbrella and there are red shoes and there is the woman folding her newspaper and there is the hard key under your finger and there are the black stripes of branches and the slow saunter of a drunk and there are veins on his nose that are like the veins of your swimming instructor from twenty years ago who is surely dead or dying and far away and there is the ocean and there are the waves on the ocean and each of them each of them moving and falling and nobody sees them except satellites and Google. And none of it will stay. And the world the world is vast and tiny and each speck of dust tumbling here and tickling against your nostrils is ash from some great fire burning lonely in the dark as the devil or god. And each brick in each wall was heated in fire until the grains of clay fused and ran and the stuff of the mortar holding them together grew once in shells in a warm sea far away and the gravity that makes each of them want to fall ripples outwards endlessly in time. What are you equal to? Not the clay, not the bricks, not the world. Have you earned the feather? That dappled thing? Can you take it home?







Two things, I guess.

i) I like the idea of ekphrasis. But when I sit in front of a painting and look at it and try to write a poem, I don't, usually, like what I get. One day I had a moderately bright idea, approximately 20 lumens maybe. I'd try to do an ekphrasis of a city. (Cities are art, I think.) (Yes, yes, Paterson—I get ideas when I'm able to temporarily forget what people have done before me. Learning is anamnesis; creativity is re-amnesis. ) So I tried that for a bit. This poem's one of the pieces of it.

ii) I don't see a lot of poems that end with questions. Why is that? I like questions. I like questions with poems in them or vice versa. So I've been writing a lot of word problems.