Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us

A haunting poem I’ve always loved by Richard Siken from his stunning first collection, Crush.

green trees on forest during daytime


Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake
                                      and dress them in warm clothes again.
         How it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running
until they forget that they are horses.
                   It’s not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere,
         it’s more like a song on a policeman’s radio,
                 how we rolled up the carpet so we could dance, and the days
were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple
                                                             to slice into pieces.
Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means
         we’re inconsolable.
                               Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
                                                                Tell me we’ll never get used to it.



Everyone needs a place.

Dreams make a significant appearance in both this Richard Siken poem and his other piece that I posted a few months ago. So this may be influenced by the fact that it’s quite late, and I’m growing sleepier (and less coherent) by the minute, but I find Siken’s poems sort of dreamlike themselves. Threaded tightly with images and assertions both head-noddingly familiar and somewhat jarring, these two poems leave me feeling a bit like I do after just waking from some dreams–intrigued and bewildered and startlingly, perhaps reassuringly, exposed.

“Detail of the Woods”

I looked at all the trees and didn’t know what to do.

A box made out of leaves.
What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else.
I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.

From the landscape: a sense of scale.
From the dead: a sense of scale.

I turned my back on the story. A sense of superiority.
Everything casts a shadow.

Your body told me in a dream it’s never been afraid of anything.