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.
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.
Wait it out.
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.