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Tricky Morning Writing

"Tricky Morning Writing (With Ray Carver’s Ghost)" and others

By Corey Mesler

Tricky Morning Writing (With Ray Carver’s Ghost)

Raymond Carver’s ghost
looks over my shoulder
this morning
as I write. I slowly type
word after word,
a wary carpenter.
After one fairly felicitous
phrase I sit back
as if to relish it. Mr. Carver’s
face is grave, his
hand to his chin. He looks
sad and when I catch
his attention it’s enough to make
you cry the way he
shakes his head from side to side.

Meditation on a Thurible

The sun burns my joss stick.
I’m incensed.
The light outside is the color
of an old nickel.
From where I sit the sidewalk goes around

the world.

On the First Day of 2002

The morning opens like a can.
It feels the same
but it is not the same.
The year is a palindrome, a
good enough
augury. The bed feels like a
cool pilliwinks.
My daughter comes in on stick
thin legs, her
beauty like the light from a star.
She asks, apropos
of the new year, is John Lennon
still dead?

Universal Thinking

Little tired sun,

shine a bit longer on
this spinning marble.

We’ll never get
finished. We’ll always

be unfulfilled.

Another Language

When I was young
I studied Spanish.
Did I want a loving tongue?
Did I want you
to place your hand over that
part of me that was
so loose and anxious?
I remember the verb tener.
I remember how soft your
young palm was.
The hot nights, the aficion.

The Medicament Predicament Again

Four bottles of pills
await me in the kitchen.
If I ignore them they
make a stink; I
don’t want the children
to hear. I sneak open
their box and pop
one or two or four.
The doctor told me to do this.
This furtive, unholy
iatric idolatry.

The Morning after the Night my Father Died

The dead weight of the world
is like a tail. The
morning is a blister.
I wake afraid.
The bedclothes tangle me like
manacles. In the
pit of my stomach, somewhere
around the soul,
a sickness, a foul misalignment.
This is day one.


“a bullet soars through the apple
life’s on loan”
Bei Dao

This grey morning gets in bones,
settles like a fog

around thought. It’s cold, damp.

I wake to an empty house
feeling like a single finger,

worth my weight in frost. On the
grimy window pane

someone has written, “Live as if
you mean it.”

I rise to the challenge. Gravity

is like a sore in my chest.
I’m halfway through with life, or

so I wish to believe. Forgive me.

In a Watering Hole at the Next Bardo

The quiet man at the end of the bar
is writing Something on a napkin.
He is preparing for a journey, one
that will take him from “Don’t
Bother Me” to “The Art of Dying.”
All the other patrons of the bar
are aware of the stranger but he is
so still they take him for a saint.
Later, of course, everyone says that
they knew it was him, the long hair,
the peaceful mien, the somber guitar.


A poem that’s all over the place.
A disarray of the heart
and head.
A reason this line ends abruptly.
A feeling that there is more ahead
that is as confusing
as what was just left behind.
What was left behind returning.
A love of all this anyway.
A feeling that only a chump would
give up.
The desire to give up.