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01-28-2012

 

Nick Flynn

 

haiku (failed) 

 

The thin thread that hold us here, tethered / or maybe tied, together,
what / do you call it-telephone? horizon? song? Listen / to yourself
sing, We are all god's children / we are all gods, we walk the earth /
sometimes, two sails inside us sometimes / beating, our bodies the
bottle, a ship inside each / until one day, for no reason, it sails-
hello? / damn phone-until one day it sails / out of sight, until one
day it cuts out of / earshot, bye-bye muttered into your cupped palm,
bye-bye / boat, bye-bye rain-Look / maybe this is the place we've been /
waiting for, maybe this place / is the day, inside us, inside each /
corpuscle, the day, that day, everyday is / inside, my body, your body,
everyday is / this thread, everyday you said, come / get me, everyday
you said, it's been way too long / you said, bye-bye, bye-bye, not a day /
went by, the thin, the thread, so thin, this thread, are you still / here,
is it still, your heart, is it well / well welling?

greetings, friend (minotaur)

 

O heart weighed down by so many wings / isn't it time to admit / we are more machinery than gods / that our house is more maze than temple, that contrary / to popular mechanics we cannot, anytime / simply change the channel. Basho / year after year, saw on the monkey's face / a monkey face. Here we are, friend, year out / year in, in our bodies, inside then, seemingly, everything / as promised, ten percent off. You say / the family car was always warming up. You say / wasn't there a tv show about a minotaur? You say / O heart weighed down by so many wings, where / is my monkey mask now? 

                         -from The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands

BIO: In 1960, Nick Flynn was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, on Boston’s South Shore. He worked as a ship's captain and at a homeless shelter in Boston before being awarded a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. After the two-year fellowship he moved to New York, where he got his MFA from New York University and taught in Columbia University’s Writing Project. He is the author of three books of poetry, The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (Graywolf, 2011), Blind Huber (Graywolf, 2002), and Some Ether (2000), which was the recipient of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. Flynn’s work has been described as post-confessional, primarily because of the poems in Some Ether, which focused on his mother’s suicide when he was twenty-two, his difficult childhood, and his stilted family life. In Blind Huber, however, the poems eschew Flynn’s history and focus on the life of the blind beekeeper, Francoise Huber, who lived in the 18th Century. While the subject matter may differ dramatically, in all of Nick Flynn’s work there is the struggle for connectivity in a disjointed and harsh reality. As Claudia Rankine noted about Some Ether, "We are guided by a stunning and solitary voice into lives that have spiritually and physically imploded. No one survives and still there is so much to be felt. Here is sorrow and madness reconciled to humanity." Nick Flynn is also the author of the memoirs, The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir (W.W. Norton, 2010), and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004), which received the PEN/Martha Albrand Award and has been widely translated. He was awarded “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Amy Lowell Trust. He teaches part time at the University of Houston.

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