“Very Rilke”

Click here to listen to Lynn Emanuel read this poem. Like that time in Paris in the 15th & here & naked on mon balcon in full view of my landlady

on her fleurs blooming in a jardiniere
I’m answering nature’s call
& can’t remember why
when just below me is the WC

I’m not going down there
even though the greves &
half of Paris are looking—
I mean I was guilty

of everything already
but every time I remember
trying to remember
Why or Why not


was or was not the WC
out of bounds, I feel
my mind refuse me
& I have come to think

of this refusal as poetic.
I am oggled
but uncaptioned
violated but

despite the fact that I long to be
explained, to be clear, to be
transparent, really—

my poems lacquered with a gloss of adjectives
until they beam like meringues.
In the boxes of these quatrains
like a prehistoric bee

an Ur-bee in a block of amber
sealed in this scene of my degradation
I can’t recall what made me do it
though I return & return to the hive of it

this image, with me on its eternal,
absent-minded agenda. Very Rilke.
Bee of the invisible world,
gathering the honey of the visible.