Poetry Wednesday – Michael McClure

Mexico Seen From the Moving Car
by Michael McClure

                                  and clods of mud.
The mind drifts through
in the shape of a museum,
in the guise of a museum
dreaming dead friends:
Jim, Tom, Emmet, Bill.
—Like billboards their huge faces droop
and stretch on the walls,
on the walls of the cliffs out there,
where trees with white trunks
          makes plumes on rock ridges.
My mind is fingers holding a pen.
Trees with white trunks
             make plumes on rock ridges.
Rivers of sand are memories.
Memories make movies
             on the dust of the desert.
Hawks with pale bellies
             perch on the cactus,
their bodies are portholes
             to other dimensions.
This might go on forever.
I am a snake and a tiptoe feather
at opposite ends of the scales
as they balance themselves
against each other.
This might go on forever.
I go back and forth on adding commentary to my Poetry Wednesday posts. After all, shouldn’t I just let the poem speak for itself? And as much as I like to read poetry and I like to speak about poetry in the abstract sense, when I am facing a poem and expected to discuss, sometimes I am at a loss for words.
I read a lot of poems for Poetry Wednesday. Rather, I read a lot of first lines of poems. Much like judging a book by its cover, I’m a relentless judger of poems by their first lines. But how could you could you read this first line and not read the rest of the poem? I couldn’t. I was rewarded, because the rest of the imagery is as unique and rewarding. This poem is at once about Mexico and the scenery and about the “dreaming dead friends,” an almost painfully sad alliteration, that, tragically, might go on forever.

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