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Valerie Fox

LifeEdge 011: Lynn Levin & Valerie Fox on Poetry/Writing


The  sun set. We saw it off. At that moment there was still an outside chance of being corrupted.

This waiter has flair. He has my cousin's nose. He takes the least number of steps. The dog looks on. I have a memory of my father lifting and carrying boxes of bread.

Just at that moment you spoke to the dog. You explained that we could not take him inside the building, so he'd have to loiter outside a bit longer.  He was left to think about not belonging.

Why worry? Why count the broken hours? You say something like that to no one in particular, or to someone you love.

You assign the roles. I get to be the bad luck owl. Everything is steady, or tries to be, like we're on a stately barge. Everyone is alive again. Except for me. My paint is flaking away. Apples are falling pretty far from our trees. On nearby Hanover Street a once inviting and cared-for house has been recently demolished. An upright piano stands slightly elevated at the top of the front steps. Someone should remove it, but it looks nice there, surrounded by blue skies and summertime.

Just at that moment I was incorruptible. We were interrupted by the radio. You floated the idea and cloud-like, I rained.

Published in Hanging Loose 99 (2011)


One day

one day you're barreling over the cement median, drunk
in the orange Karman Ghia convertible
next thing you're married, then you're still married
careening and declining, going left and going
right, on foot in circles, attending Mass, on a dare,
climbing into the dire taxi
meeting up by the Don Quixote statue in Fishtown
stature all wrong, loping along
beginning again, being less married
donning a paper hat, making your way
into a room, this makes sense
to you, like being a savior, you save
you don't hoard, you appreciate the angularity
of High Modernism and insomnia

you don't discard your printed napkins--
Ponzio's, The Bluebird--
peppered with rhymes and telephone numbers
another dated and signed, punctured by thumb tacks,
having fallen at least once, abject, to the floor
see shoe print, size 9
young you, never at a loss for trying,
for staying up late, or inventing
evidence, necessary to replace the stolen boxes and bags of it,
noting the smell of the hoof and the horn,
of your own ice age, finding pictures of actual people
having a sense of conviviality and snow-preparedness
just ask anyone, you'll try anything

one day attracted by the moon, hiding from it
the next, or else you just can't find your true compass
not in this sky, never lucky or believing in luck, one good thing
is no one ever told you what to be, just what not to be,
and they left out a lot
for you to be

Published in Hanging Loose 99 (2011)

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