Daniel Isaac Lucy


Daniel Isaac Lucy is a 20 year old student at the University
of North Dakota, majoring in Honors/English.  He lives in Grand Forks, ND. 

He has been writing poetry for 4 years. 

Some of his favorite contemporary poets include Heather McHugh (he admires her use of
alliteration), Lee Young-Li, Mark Doty, Eavan Boland, Susan
Yuzna.  He also enjoys the works of Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and John
Updike.  He enjoys poems, and poets, who have stamina.



Then Saint Sa‘ns

For Bill Edlebeck II


I stand naked now in your city,

where I am a visitor. I stand naked in

your apartment, in your shower,

the cramped, tiled stall with its plastic

Twister curtain (the game that ties you up

in knots), eccentric but endearing

and too painfully obvious a metaphor

to miss. I stand naked and think of your love

of architecture—how your arms fly

about when you point certain buildings

out—your Eero Saarinens, and those designed

by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rhoe,

whose motto was "God is into details."

The buildings you would embrace, could you

get your arms around them entire.

Their symmetry unnerves me, it hurts me,

the way each floor tile matches line for line each

wall panel, each light fixture, each

door frame, each window, outside and in.

They are meticulous structures, stone and marble

poetry, forms that you know by heart

the way I know Quatrains, Sestinas, Villanelles.

I love those skyscrapers as you do, but for a different

reason. I love that they cover the sun.


Scars are a mixed blessing, if blessing at all.

They mean I am healthy. They mean

my inner workings are still working, and my body


is rebuilding itself with new, mismatched

skin of a different, pinker color, each a

tiny restoration project. Is it truly the thought

that counts, though, if the gift is painful?

Is it enough to say they meant well?

Will that make such pain trivial; each reflection,

each interrupted touch, each time I’ve

had sex with my shirt still on, always

in darkened rooms, curtained windows stopping

the light of the moon. I can leave

everything—all my possessions.

My thoughts also, and their compulsive twitch.

I can be vegetable. Still I will be in this body—

this mess of poorly patched flesh. I can

cover with layer after layer of white under-shirts,

heavy sweaters, but I will feel the scars, feel

them as the fairy-tale princess felt the pea

that fateful night, even through the twentieth box spring.

I will toss, turn, tear my hair. I will not rest,

though you try to convince me that you

don’t care; that I’m beautiful and you want to see me, all.


A tourist during the day I spent my time seeing things

I could never see back home—that flat

state where the ground is divided out

by the acre, planted and tended systematically according

to season; where the weather is almost

bi-polar—always one extreme or other. Some days I walked

alone through the crowds, snapping pictures I hoped would

turn out. I felt beautiful being ignored,

passing extravagantly ornamented shop windows, turning

corners when I came to them without

any forethought. I wanted a snapshot

of everything all at once. I never even feared becoming


lost; I could see your building—your twin

towers, your girls—in the skyline, the blockish man-made

horizon, and find my way back. I was unpracticed at passing

the homeless, and couldn’t help looking

them in the face, except that legless, frostbite-black woman

near Marshall Fields who begged

can you help me, can you help me?

In ignoring her I felt my first twinge of guilty success. I cried later.


In the evening we witnessed the orchestra. I fell in love

with Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, then

Rautavarra’s Violin Concerto—where every instrument

present joined in short spurts of sound carefully

composed to seem almost accidental. Then Saint Sa‘ns

and the Organ Symphony that made you cry

like a violin, and drum your fingers, and nod excitedly

in time with the music. Then the conductor

who jumped intermittently, as if startled

by the beauty he alone controlled. Then the organ that shook

the cavernous room, its pipes hidden behind

the wall, like veins—pipes that pumped out notes like blood—

linking and bringing it all together with booming finality.

Then the crashing sea of applause where we stood

clapping side by side, elbows bumping in a confused rhythm—

a rhythm nonetheless. Then I knew I loved you.



Tornado Watch

By late afternoon

conditions were pronounced

optimal—the syrupy air, the opposing

winds, each intent on the other.

A collision unasked,

unavoidable, a bald sky

gone passionate. Lightning pirouettes,

thunder applauds. A violent

romance, this storm,

an atmospheric orgasm.

Such winds always electrify. The prairie

night turns furious and tropical

as the funnel dances

La Sylphide, a bellowing

ballerina. The local siren wails

like a colicky newborn.



Channel 11 acts as instinct;

a blonde instructs calmly what to do:

garage the car, bring in the potted

plants, bolt doors, avoid windows. Take shelter

in the deepest part of your home,

behind your bulkiest possessions,

the heaviest things you own.

If you have a basement, a basement will do,

though its walls are musty as a lovebed.

Seek the deep freeze in the far corner.



Leave the wind to comb the trees over

like thinning hair.

Leave the rain to firecracker

the empty streets.

Leave the sky to hail its stones,

being without sin.

Stay in.

Wait it out.

Stay in.


Soon enough the sky

will bleed its rainbow. Following

such ferocity: inevitable indigo.



A quarter-century old eyesore and so destroyed.

Your concrete veins smoked and convulsed

a split-second before you collapsed

inward. Quite the sight—

even gutted—and people crowded

at a safe distance to see you release.

When you came down the debris

of your last booming breath

spread as far as it would.

Your thunderous swan song

shook the streets, as if to prove

how colorless the skyline would be

without you—how contained

you actually were—one time,

one time only—

before your broken body dusted the streets,

and people ran

as they cheered—ran and cheered

as you died. Just a building, whose

only beauty was in its engineering.

A building whose beauty was,

as few men can claim, truly

on the inside.