On Hearing That a Name Poet Eschews the “I”


Call me confessional but I say that the I

Is writing on behalf of humanity,

A vanguard voice voicing hard-won


The voice of witness and testimony

The voice of the lament

As we– the collective I– are “dumb to tell”

The authentic lamentation.


“I” dance across history:

I linger at Normandy.

I drink a glass of water. I sing.

“I celebrate and sing myself”–

Again, Self/I as lens,

Mirror, presence.

I weep. I pray. I fall down

of course

I call attention to the Self:

We are selves with an affinity

For one another–old intimates all– and I

Am the bridge.


I go out to grain the mares–no Other;

Clouds billow on a sky

Lit from within by unseen stars

moving me:

Take all I have then– my voice

Strophe, advent, forecast {…}


Break out the brackets to denote

Passing time…the stammers

Of someone lost– all of us–

Italicize please

When you leave

O Ye Professing a Poetry

of Language—




I/We would hear your weeping

Madama Pulitzer:

not the reductio ad absurdem,

of coldly flailing  intellect


in emptying, airless rooms.



(segments in quotes:  1- Song of Myself/Whitman; 2-“The Force That Through the Green Fuse….”

Dylan Thomas….)