Everything has to have an economy nowadays—
an economy of airwaves, of drug use, of romantic liaisons, of impulse purchases,
of border-crossings, of self-loathing, of human potential, of scorn—
but poetry has less of an economy than anything else.
So we are freer to do our will in a poem.

We can swell charmed gratitude with florid exultations of love,
and not even bring the words to light during our lifetimes.
We can bend to our desks till we forget how long we sat writing,
to regain scant traces of what remains unmined,
our eyes focused on the fountains of unpleasant memories,
lumbars starting to ache (defying an economy of muscle injuries),
resistive, licentious, garrulously obscure.

We can degrade our aesthetics.
We can throw in our garbage,
such as the swaying of a young girl’s pocketbook beneath a crown of red curls on Garibaldi Street.
We’ll cavil and rue heaven’s attractions.
Forget what we had available in a dozen languages.

The galleries can be resplendent with fabled tapestries.
It may be the only time in our lives we are moddish.
But our best efforts
write off yesterday’s accomplishments
and lay up stores for what we will do tomorrow.

Andy Oram
November 9, 2006

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