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PRETTY WORDS, PARABOLAS / Bin Ramke I once knew things. Formulae and fantasies of my own. Now nothing? The patience and particularities cohere into lyrical agony given a chance; the sudden telephone peeled sleep from the household—a death somewhere and a father left home, the long drive through morning Tennessee gray—Or did I read it? Was it not no, never my family's death? The old do die, and the young. Here's a happy thought. Happiness coheres, look at the past, as if: once upon a time. To have a small lawn in a large world is a victory. One kind. A place for poppies, gentians and a sound of water pleasing and mountains, clouds et cetera. If you sit to admire to what wUl you turn your back? A house, an interior and glass, this wiU do. At last the world is gUster of its own making, sufficient machine. Not at last. There is (no?) that same hummingbird I met last summer. Learn to live. If the Body is a form of itself over time, then there is music, or could be. From this pleasant prospect we can see more air than anything. Moving. StiU my ignorance is no bliss at all. 160 · The Missouri Review AS YOU LIKE IT / Bin Ramke Being sinners together, there's nothing Uke it: the dim, momentary horizon, then the clouds and haze of blurry Ughts. There is no counting on the body these days, the demands of appetite so ultimately ugly. What can you do with a boy who wants the world beautiful, who would kiU to make it so? You must be careful with him, yes. Kiss him, make him weU. Notice the rain redeeming itself on your roof, the proof theological there, the ambiguous aUbi: there is a last rose in that garden this faU dreary among the welter of leaves, the arrogance wearying. Talk me into it, he said, threatening. Wast ever in court, shepherd? No, truly. Then thou art damned. "We loved each other, but we are no longer young. I am so tired in my narrow bed, and I know what ______ is—nothing, compared to pain. And now I know pain. But we were young together going to the park with wine, then the rain drove us home where we opened our bottle and across the roofs of New Orleans we watched the gray rain faU and I'U pretend we knew another fearful hunger." You can't say it anymore. No one wants to know. The Missouri Review · 262 ENTER CELIA, WITH A WRITING / Bin Ramke You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge We continue to attend to truth as we see it. We are a small group of humans, full of good intentions. We are full of despair. We continue to read ourselves to sleep at night. We Uve through the nights full of desolate desire. We have kitchens and smaU animals for company. We are as good as any, better than some. We have thought about our Uves, and now it is dawn. Daws mon pays, on ne questionne pas un homme emu. (In my country, we are discreet around men in tears; in my homeland, we observe the decorum of private grief; back where I was born, men did not show their feelings; surely you wiU not disturb me in my hour of anguish.) The French, or such a Frenchman as that, fill their dawns with angry art and intricate analysis. It is a way to be, and certainly you yourself could learn something: for instance, what of the dead Father you never buried, and the Mother you wUl not allow to die? Won't you accept his good advice, his friendship? And what do you know about Mr. Char and his little poems whose delicate directions might also say with him Les branches sont libres de n'avoir pas de fruits (and if the branches of my trees are thusly hberated, why not call it triumph, why not eat? No nation is more hungry than the French.) It is not my fault. Blame yourself, this art 262 · The Missouri Review is not what it...


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