Cannonball, without metaphor


that barking dog
is not my dog

so when it howls next
I don’t jump
to wonder what

but as cliché would have it
for about ten seconds
all the neighbor dogs
start up
except mine

who sleeps through it all
his own silence
that for all the sound
in here it isn’t his



a remembering


to be in love
with you
is to be
in love
with the world

the silence
of understanding this
being on the street
being in the middle
of cars and trucks
and people walking
the fast and slow walks
of their days

in all this
silence absolute

could I live
like this?
with all this?
with this whole world?

decades later
finding the answer
in that
this is still
the question
everything changing

and still
you and the world



one’s own better angels


because the evidence
is elusive
or has grown
to illusion
I think to walk
will not tell me
what’s new

though we did try
and through
the streets
strewn with windblown
branches, leaves
sometimes whole trees

so I write in a notebook
this could have been
a disaster

then, but a later then
I thought how
it was a disaster
to see the streets
that way
in the gray fall afternoon

it was getting dark already
the full moon
evident through the clouds
on the streets
the fog was all mine
the one in my head
everything else
bathed in moon
and electric light
vivid silvers, yellows

I could live with that
knowing my choices:
walk the streets
for a very long time
and see
the desolation
sit at home
in the long lit room
notebooks, real books
a glass of something
and still see it anyway








Mark Statman‘s most recent books are the poetry collections A Map of the Winds(Lavender Ink, 2013) and Tourist at a Miracle (Hanging Loose, 2010), and the translations Black Tulips: The Selected Poems of José María Hinojosa (University of New Orleans, 2012) and, with Pablo Medina, Federico García Lorca’s Poet in New York (Grove, 2008). His work appears in nine anthologies and he has published in numerous journals, including Tin House, South Dakota Review, and American Poetry Review. He is an Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College, The New School for the Liberal Arts.



Tagged with →  
Share →

7 Responses to Three Poems by Mark Statman

  1. John Yamrus says:

    Mark, some day you’ll have to consider a book of just Cannonball poems. as for all 3 of these…excellent work!

  2. susan tepper says:

    beautiful cryptic poems that move from inside to outside, and vice-versa, seamlessly.

  3. Donna Snyder says:

    What a pleasure to reaf these.

    • Donna Snyder says:

      To read these poems, not to reaf them.

    • Lucy says:

      Related to this &#e1h0;OMG-t82-Government-is-DOOMED-coz-of-asylum-seekers„ meme that is being pushed at present, I was amused to hear story over the airwaves this morning.Obviously, because a 19yo student was allowed to speak her mind at a community event, TEH GUBERMENTS DAYS ARE NUMBERED!!!!Or something. o.O

  4. Diego Lopez says:

    re: Cannonball, without metaphor

    Appropriate title!

    The repetition of “dog” does not sit nicely on an 8 syllable pair, and in fact distracts from what is being stated by making the reader take a moment to acknowledge — “that barking dog is not mine” would get us there quicker and off to the following 3 lines of compelling activity (strong lines, indeed).

    “but as cliche would have it” is an ironic line (itself being a jarring, trite introduction). Again, beginning with “for about ten seconds (…)” is fine! You are already showing, no need to tell us nor display it.

    “his own silence” is endearing, as are the last 5 lines of this poem.

Leave a Reply to susan tepper Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>