Winter 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2011 |

Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys

The mind in the true dark at 3 a.m. when the electricity goes out with a bang—circling the ambit of consciousness, listening, probing, defending the perimeter, as long ago, fending off wolves with sharpened sticks when the fire died. When I close my eyes the movie starts again, the poem rises, the plot begins. As I'm falling asleep it comes to me, the novel I will never write, in semaphore flashes against my eyelids, flames from a torpedoed ship reflected on low clouds, flames abstract as green fingers, steam-machinery assembled from blueprints of another era, engine-gush of hot ash, a foliage of fears as lush as prehistoric ferns. Up rises chaff from the threshing floor, up rises moon dust, city smoke, pulses of birdcall, voices chopped by wind into mews and phonemes. The perfecting of art, according to Kierkegaard, is contingent upon the possibility of gradually detaching itself more and more from space and aiming toward time, a distinction analogous to that b

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Campbell McGrath is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (Ecco Press, 2012). A resident of Miami, he teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University.

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September 11

By Campbell McGrath

The mind in the true dark at 3 a.m. when the electricity goes out with a bang—circling the ambit of consciousness, listening, probing, defending the perimeter, as long ago, fending […]

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