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65 MICHAEL BURKARD SOMETHING WORN I am unavailable for your glove, for your “Promised Land,” for your drum key which makes me think of a life overlooked, a childhood, something given up, some feeling that even though I am not sure who you are you have had to give up something very positive for yourself, that you are good at steeling yourself to it like the Steelers logo you could carry, or steeling yourself to the task at hand like the man running for governor on the pin – he needed a glove like the one you have worn, something to relax with, a glove to play with, to walk with – I am unavailable for your glove because I have no idea who you are, I thought I did, but in looking around at so many other objects from other lives I realized I had made a mistake in assuming too much, and the identity I thought I had intact, yours or mine, was probably not only not true but a set-up I was making for myself, to keep me from a different version of my own life. Today I do not even know what to tell you about yourself, or to tell you about myself. The telling feels like one mistaken identity after the next. Your glove feels like a mask, a face: something worn. 66 MICHAEL BURKARD THE LORCA PART i did not know donald justice very well – we didn’t hit it off right in iowa city – no one’s fault – just one of those things – his was the only poetry by the people i knew and liked when i went there – but we didn’t hit it off – i guess too he was so smart i felt as i easily and often did dumb – i remember one awkward not even conversation about music where he mentioned a slew of american composers – i grew up on presley – he noted that too – no name dropping – no attempt to impress me – he was just himself – he was a great teacher in a forms class i took from him that first fall – i still remember almost verbatim some of what we did with lorca and eliot and yeats and particularly stevens – what i really recall about ‘the lorca part’ is that i had fudged my way into the course by getting anna to help me translate some of lorca – she did it for me – for my face – and i still almost missed – translating something from somewhere was a prereq – anyway one night at a party justice was playing chess – he loved chess – he was good at it too – if that’s appropriate to say about chess – he was leaning against a refrigerator when it wasn’t his move and he talked at the party while he also studied the board – he was playing with a guy whose name i should remember but can’t – don’t have a face to go with the guy’s dark hair – later – maybe three or four years – i wrote down in the green small journal tess gave me a dream i had of justice with a capital J in the dream playing chess with Summer with summer’s capital S – i dreamt him again with mark strand in it in a new yorker published poem gambling scheme coded giveaway about numbers in the poem – will have to look up that elaborate one more closely – suffice to say: to dream is to die – to dream is also to dye – to make new – to color differently – the way paint of course colors something 67 differently if a different color is applied – the color before has in a sense died as it is ‘dyed’ by the new paint – not unlike my dreams indicate a relationship far more interesting than the one i thought was taking place – the lorca part might be a hinge for this as it involved my being false – representing me as i was wont to do as someone i was not – 68 MICHAEL BURKARD THE MEETING he got to the meeting a few minutes late, he felt too bad to go in, so he stood in the hallway and listened to them talk about...


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pp. 65-70
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