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Bob Arnold

Four poems from «A Possible Eden»

Crossing / My Love… / Adore / Stairway


In the real world people gather in crowds of sunshine on chilled spring mornings — smoking cigarettes, in hoods, cheap slacks, puffy sneakers always white, they joke and use words like words were meant to be used — direct, homely, getting from point A to point B — which is just what they are waiting for the bus that is free in this rural state to do, where cows out number people, and where busses cross over mountains.

My Love…

wonders every winter-to-spring about a garden that grows on the way to town. This year she is worried about the man who plants and tends that garden every year. She hasn’t seen him at all out there working. Ground unplowed. She remembers him in the fall looking frail. There is a small pickup truck in the driveway. The gardener has no idea about my love’s thoughts. The space between the road and the house is maybe one hundred feet and within that space is a possible eden.


I adore the concentration! A woman walks on the sidewalk toward me and tries the locked door where I am waiting. We both hear the lock hold. We’re strangers but she looks at me and speaks as if I am the door, “No… Wait. Oh, wrong door.” She moves down fifteen feet to another door and where things work.


I climbed the cement stairway of the four-tier parking garage — on the first tier I met up with a man who carried a large box down the center of the stairs, and he apologized for this. On the second tier I came face to face with a cherry condition F-150 pickup, turquoise painted stem to stern. My dream truck. I hesitated awhile there and just looked. On the third tier a man I’ve seen before was rattling on the parking ticket machine dreaming of loose change, and on the top tier of the parking garage a blond ponytailed woman in a soft pink sweater was stopped in her tracks and offering no eye contact. As I politely stepped aside she softly murmured, “Sorry.” It’s sunny on the top. The pigeons like this place. A man was leaving his brand new car to fetch himself a ticket. Nobody up there on that moonscape except him and me and the creaking sounds of his parked car relaxing.

Two Vermont Poets: Bob Arnold and friend. Photo by Susan Arnold.

Two Vermont Poets: Bob Arnold and friend.
Photo by Susan Arnold.

Bob Arnold’s «A Possible Eden» is from a recently finished book out of the Green Mountains of Vermont where he has long made his living as a stonemason, builder, and bookseller. His many books include On Stone, Where Rivers Meet, American Train Letters, Once In Vermont, Hiking Down From A Hillside Sky, and Dream Come True, which is a bilingual edition in Norwegian/English translated by Lars Amund Vaage. Bob has been interviewed twice in Jacket magazine (by Gerald Hausman and Kent Johnson). Since 1971, with Susan Arnold, he has edited journals, books and anthologies from Longhouse — the most recent anthology being ORIGIN series 6, in memory of his friend Cid Corman.

[»»] In Jacket 34: Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Vermont Poet: Bob Arnold in conversation with Gerald Hausman, Vermont / Florida, 2007

[»»] In Jacket 39: Bob Arnold in conversation with Kent Johnson: 10 March 2010

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