Prayer for an Unremarkable Day by Matthew Olzmann
I’d like a day where all the buildings remain intact. Let the Hydra remain asleep beneath the surface. Let the tornado be befuddled, yawn, go back to bed. No floods. No lightning strikes. No movie theaters where a man walks in with a terrible idea hidden in his coat. Forgive me, for I have longed
for special effects, glory. Flashbulbs and moon landings. Not anymore. Give me something ordinary, a day that doesn’t swerve into the wrong lane. Give me commercials for hand soap, safety goggles, Lipton tea.
In 499 B.C., back on the shores of Miletus, Histiaeus tattooed instructions to the shaved head of his favorite slave. When the hair grew back, the message was sent to a general, who took a razor to the slave, saw the command, and began torching the countryside, killing the weak. Always, this is how bad news arrives.
I thought I could protect people. Today: my brother buys a house on a fault line in California, and my parents—like everyone else— grow one year older, one year at a time. But that happens faster now. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but already one can see fissures in both the pavement and the sky, how the trees, branded by the storm, lean until their roots are loosed from the land.
Let the news be boring. Let the roof repel the rain. Let the car start on the first or second try.
Other poems I enjoyed reading this week: (Links attached for the full poem)
"I let the darkening room drink up the evening, till rest, or the new rain lightly roused you awake. I asked if you heard the rain in your dream and half dreaming still you only said, I love you."
"Until the pain turns into answers and all the masters become askers And all the victims again doers And all the sources break in light.
The child goes alive, asking his questions." -The Return by Muriel Rukeyser
"And may it happen on a day when you are singing with friends, laughing at a joke, dancing
in your living room. May it come to you before you know it and you’ll find yourself flying, a balloon
cut loose, taking one last glance at this fond world that you have loved." -Drop Dead by Tamara Madison
"When they finished burying me, what was left of me sent up a demand like a hand blooming in the fresh dirt:
When I’m back, I want a body like a slash of lightning. If they heard me, I couldn’t hear their answers.
But silence has never stopped me from praying." -A Memory by Saeed Jones
the rain spoke to me slowly, saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again in a new way on the earth!" -Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me By Mary Oliver
Links of the Week: