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  • California, and: Meet Me in Venice
  • Michael Rutherglen (bio)


There you are at the bed’s west edge, bent toward the song, your back like a strayed wave heaving for the horizon. I’m slumped to your wall, veins hauled tight as bridge cable over the bay, imagining a crowd of gulls arced past noon. The singer asks will you take me as I amstrung out on another and there you are, turning, needle full of sundown, sunk toward my spine, that notched and readied fault that climbs me. [End Page 133]

Meet Me in Venice

When the breath, when the will, when the light frays. When it is the first hour of the night, dissonance surging in an isolate life: the crowds downtown, the oceanic static of traffic. When the sent song gutters, losing its way, it is the first hour of the night, and solitude is centered everywhere and has no circumference. When summer has been flat glass giving back nothing but sublimate glare. When love is an accident of substance, and no substance itself. When it is a name inconsequent of anything, one ligature in a calligraphy of exhaled smoke. When the ways give way: I can say: laughter swaying up from boats below the bridges, the streets riding at anchor, noon’s beatitude, evening’s reliquary. It is not so far. [End Page 134]

Michael Rutherglen

Michael Rutherglen is from Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the recipient of a 2008 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.



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pp. 133-134
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