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and if you could get the proportions right

the world would look real
the purples close by
the mountain ridges softening the landscape

and     in between     the wind-blown vineyard
                                     lines of wind-breaking cypress
                                     silver brown olive trees

looking long and plainly  you’ll imagine

there are other mountains over there today you’ll discover a valley or two

seeing something new
            riot and rest
            orange blossoms and white

and   underground and in the sky
what you can’t know  or be stopped by

no thought is worth this
why have ideas of worth when

                                                               all’s equal under the sun









I wanted the meter maid to like me
so she wouldn't give me a ticket
which is like totally insane

standing by the water fountain I said to myself
I'll always remember this so I can
remember what fourth grade feels like

but all I remember is
standing by the water fountain
saying that to myself









dreamt I was lorine niedecker
walking home from the hospital
the sky was whitish grey

weed and branch
along the way

in church I wore a pill box hat
carried a modest purse
saw every bit of life there  advance









I dreamt I was an armadillo
radiant and plain
wilhelm reich would’ve said
I was armored
he was insane

I read elizabeth bishop –

            a weak mailed fist
               clenched ignorant against the sky —

clearly she knew the armadillo

            was helpless as the wind / that dies
 against the why







Ruth Lepson

Ruth Lepson has been the poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music for 20 years. Her new book is ask anyone, from Pressed Wafer, with musical setting available (soon) on the PW website. She's been collaborating with musicians for some years now and will be making an album this spring with Noah Preminger, Frank Carlberg, and Simon Willson.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

All Issues