back toJacket2

Erik Sweet

Two poems

8 Tender Buttons

My shirt has so many buttons when I look down,
but when I take it off and rest it on a hook

there are only 8 buttons.

Once in a mirror, I looked at the shirt and got lost in the maze of buttons

It is so hard to remember, these days, if men button left over right
or just left-over write

Once again, there are really only 8 buttons, the advertisement said so.

Once said by G. Stein,

“More of double” but I say, not this way
I will need spectacles many times over

Once said by Bonnie Prince,
“there is absence there is lack...”

And I say I feel it, even when buttoned up and gesturing to my loved ones
or talking about plumbing with one Hughes Guillaume

Not that way, do it this way
“Act so that there is no use in a center” Stein says again in buttons

And I agree, but the shirt messes with my head
It appears to me in a dream, in many dreams as my foil, as

a laughing query and the biggest monster ever seen.

As I pack up to move to my new house, I place the brown shirt
at the top of a cardboard box.

When leaving the room, I glance over my shoulder only to see
eight little worlds ready to burst.

Double a World

After Joseph Cornell

The picture of the picture is still not good enough

you get lost in your own air — the big water is
walking backwards across the windows

sleeping across the room, swearing you
are leaning on something then
something is gone again, your fault

you want to be inside the glass
           all excited and warm
night on the surface of things is drugging hope

smoking pots with the birds by the telephone lines

Places austere, colored by illusion
          so that the culture of the words build up
          & once again you are inside of things
          but not being able to see —

The colors are just side frames in the world
Now imagine the world’s most beautiful bicycle

Being on it — surrounded by long gravel paths
flanked by flowers — And the road is just

an object you travel on but now the tires
dig in and the whole earth is a postage stamp delayed —

The path is not a path
You are walking low. The effort of seeing
My coat brings more than warmth

The torn photo creates double a world

October 2005  |  Jacket 28  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |
about Jacket | style guide | bookstores | literary links | 400+ book reviews |