Yau: Two Poems : Magazine : A Public Space

Two Poems

Poetry John Yau


Behind the hill
overlooking our tiny enclave
dwells a giant known far and wide
for his deep-set green eyes
On winter evenings we gaze
into the anthologized dark
where calloused hands
return from the peninsula
to assemble the outskirts
of the only cinema
The large red drops
in the immediate foreground
release a calming refrain
into the otherwise shrunken atmosphere
Even the crestfallen moon skitters
Soon one of us will get up
seesaw around the fire
carving the first and last
painted tears of a story
that needs no middle
now that flowers
some of them at least
return each spring
pushing little fingers
up through snow
and research
I want to visit you
Isn’t it time we start
preparing for the inevitable
Won’t you let me
help strap together
the pictures of euphoria
we will be carrying on our carts


When I read this poem
I think of Pompeii

When I read this poem
I think whomever

is reading this poem
isn’t who wrote this poem

When I read this poem
I think whomever

wrote this poem
isn’t reading this poem

When I read this poem
I think of the fortune-teller

who foretold
Pompeii’s destruction

the architectonic letters of
her poem

spelling out
what wasn’t yet written
No. 10

No. 10


John Yau is the author of A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (Distributed Art Publishers). He is currently working on two artist’s books with Thomas Nozkowski. He teaches in the visual arts department at Rutgers University. ​


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