Paul Hoover: poems

  Paul Hoover


  JPR 07


Repetition and Difference

‘The infinite resources of the thickness of things’
                 — Francis Ponge

swept snow and kept it.
                empty arms waving.
birds erased by wind.
                a journal of aesthetics.

a train is the ghost.
                slipping through the zoo.
the fog itself is warm.
                too primitive to be dreary.

cold mountain beings.
                wearing stone clothing.
the history of empty space.
                steaming at the table.

the modern world is tender.
                snow on all its owls.
to sing an empty room.
                go to bed scowling.

a sensuous apprehension.
                leaps the world’s meanings.
what do you mean boulders.
                along the doorway border.

he called it diamond silence.
                hidden by its brightness.
river and its ladder.
                sun falling on your knees.

a roaring river fire.
                house key in the snow.
must be silence walking.
                in three-word groups.

comparable to water.
                a white trackless skyway.
dogs sleep on the road.
                beneath the sound of scree.

among the honey jumpers.
                bleary to the bone.
it’s warm underground.
                her lovely snapping eyes.

the world’s leaf laden.
                that’s a yellow path.
handprint on the window.
                it’s never egret season.

an oath before we sink.
                punching holes in water.
blue lupine eyes.
                and for a common cause.

eternity’s going slow.
                about to take the corner.
who’s immortal now?
                the stove’s about to go.

another ragged actor.
                your permanent shadow.
naked in that realm.
                all laughter is solemn.

distance is in ribbons.
                don’t hurry falling down.
it was called the lipstick riot.
                I heard strains of music.

the unaccountable stars.
                tell a public secret.
crayfish and momentum.
                sleeping isn’t resting.

resemblance is a peach.
                the sunlight’s whipping now.
a valley three states wide.
                and not a single fire.

a life of ledge walking.
                seems so normal now.
no tree falls inward.
                I’m your gun for hire.

the campfire takes a walk.
                across six mountains.
stands near the lake.
                screaming at the bees.

river approaching heaven.
                glamorous yellow aspens.
it’s snowing in the song.
                soon the empty words.

spread of pine needles.
                wet feet on concrete.
eternity’s not a game.
                the seasons are amazing.

sea greenness and the journey.
                dreaming at the gate.
are we in or of the dance?
                a handsome secret man.

the shadow of your smile.
                fracture of your hand.
comparisons are listening.
                blue eyes down the line.

appetite is enough.
                he summarized an owl.
assiduous imperfections.
                snow bank and white towel.

shadow and actor.
                I sat down on the fire.
the plums were overripe.
                the place seemed familiar.

beauty isn’t endless.
                thought dies on the tongue.
nothing is transparent.
                everything half done.

what’s original now?
                immediate but distant.
naming every gesture.
                history is the vestige.

overflow of powerful grammar.
                waste product:  contemplation.
a series of vivid abstractions.
                flourishing off the page.

the god of disproportion.
                moves in fictive time.
a thought on her face.
                submerges once again.

the desperation to mean.
                lucidity and madness.
what does ‘ought’ propose?
                moral reserves on empty.

the grass is at attention.
                a faucet steadily drips.
the light behind an object.
                needs no complication.

why is heidegger quiet?
                where’s the emperor tonight?
watching with steady eyes.
                nothing thinking something.


Define:  Mother Tongue

made of flesh or ink
you are not alone

restless at the door
she’s part of the descent

into you and through
something traced

on transparent paper
a phantom limb

spoken back into being
and that prime witness

has long since disappeared
only the fiction lives

breathless as a fish
the future is seismic

its needle twitching
the possible appears

fugitive realm of
blossom, nightmare

compass, mole
each moment is a season

its memory scented
your mother sprouts wings

and flies into the sun
the planets stop turning

a red scarf falls
back into the present



words canter
draw together

into what is
called silence

in the pause
a weight falls

lends gravity
to your life

nothing missing
nothing gained

words unspoken
remain forever old

you’re excited
to be exiled

to the place
of not speaking

the thought of
not thinking and

sea of not being
fold over as sound

take a breath
and you’re sleeping

no ending
to the breathing

of the world


Paul Hoover has published many books of poetry including Desolation: Souvenir (2012). His translation of The Complete Poems of San Juan de la Cruz, with Maria Baranda, will be published by Milkweed Editions in the Northern Fall of 2018. The author had an online book, The Windows published by Argotist in 2013, consisting of procedural poems. The three poems on this page will be published in The Book of Unnamed Things (Plume Editions) in the Northern Spring of 2017.


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