Geoffrey O’Brien: 3 poems

pleasure / is the appetizer and suffering / the main course §

  Geoffrey O’Brien

  3 poems

 
  Full Disclosure

Because I say so
is why this is true.

Why should I lie.
Why should anyone

lie about having become
unable to say anything

but what the heart urges –
a condition so rare

there is no name for it yet
even if it is already

an object of study
at a secure location

whose coordinates cannot be made public
without jeopardizing those specialists

who have sacrificed
their own freedom of agency

to ensure the ongoing viability
of that instinctive and unquestioning trust

on which each of us depends
for a working definition of truth.

  Restaurant Rating

Since in this restaurant pleasure
is the appetizer and suffering

the main course, some try
to beat the system by ordering

two or three appetizers in lieu
of entree (even if the bill

comes more or less to the same);
as for dessert, if you’re lucky,

it’s a few moments of relative calm
before they boot you out

to clear the table for the customers
waiting impatiently by the door;

for some the accompanying drinks
really make the experience, some indeed

would rather drink than eat,
and many customers agree that

the talk before and between the courses
is what dining here is finally about;

a bit pricey, but not a bad bet;
and at any rate in this notoriously

under-served neighborhood
it doesn’t have a lot of competition.

  Estrangement

The unseen companion
is a half-heard voice

answering questions
not yet uttered

and shadowing at noon
the bare stone path

to a house
where strangers dwell.

 

     Geoffrey O'Brien,       photo by Nina Subin
Geoffrey O’Brien,
photo by Nina Subin

 

Geoffrey O’Brien’s seven collections of poetry include Floating City (Talisman House, 1996), Red Sky Cafe (Salt, 2005), Early Autumn (Salt, 2010), and most recently In a Mist (Shearsman, 2015). His other books include Dream Time: Chapters from the Sixties (1988), The Phantom Empire (1993), Sonata for Jukebox (1994), and Stolen Glimpses, Captive Shadows (2013).

 

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