Cassie Lewis – Vespers

Cassie Lewis


Dark soft sky—
         my will. Close by
         someone plays guitar. 10 p.m.
So not all here work
in offices.  Of late
my gaze has slipped:
consumerism seduces—
Shapiro’s line, a dollar for Whitman.
                         Alex is in my thoughts,
                         his mind like a storm—
an indoor storm—
long hoped for in the academy’s
stale halls.  Whom to tell
that story?
Lately, reading Ken Bolton’s books,
         I’ve considered them musically
structured.  With an oblique sense
made of unrelated things:
how Lou Reed’s ‘Dirty Boulevard”
and the portent of adjacent stars
are just my own shadow following me home,
to a room I adjusted.
         Ken’s fared better with his
         R & B, as the poems show—
         they’re more elastic
in tempo, more aware.
But this mind erases its footprints—
this desk is full of chores.
America happens out the window,
         or from the balcony,
         where our cat spends her life,
in love with the sun.  I like to buy
fresh paper, am I then suspect?
Rain saturates memory’s streets,
not that rain ever stops,
or knows its origin.
(Improbable.)    History lesson:
                         I am contingent
                         but my shape’s my own.  Once I cared not
for the plot.  “My friends were always
my strongest conviction”, a line
of mine I like.  And dreamt of ploughshares
lit up by moments of surprise.
‘Night’—that word takes notes
on how to sleep
born blind.

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