Edward Mayes

Mi Muovo E Muoio 

There could not have been any other
Choices, lose what you mean or find

What you mean, mean what you find
Or mean what you lose. That is, most

Of us have witnessed in one way or
Another someone mistake unencumbered

Air for a plate-glass door, another
Shattering of the self and coming out clean

Among the shards. How we have come
Through so unscathed, even though we

Still carry our scathing with us. What
Kind of food do we need to feed the blood,

And what slide down a chute do we
Take to turn up whole again, after

Years fraggled and stowed, after years
Mothed and blastering, after years

Soppy and ending in peels and grounds,
Spots on the tongue, runways grassed

Over. Even though there is still gas in
The car and even though there is never

Just one river, and even though seven
Doesn’t ever come again to those who

Are eight, there’s always the though, 
The pause, the gallon-size glinting look 

At something that forced us to turn
Away, some almighty sway we can’t

Any longer ignore, that has ripped
The doors off the house, amen, that

Has opened what can’t be opened easily,
Foam on a wave, a wave of a hand,

A handful of water, the flyswatter hanging
On a kitchen nail, the pail we could have

Used to save the sinking boat, something
Like bottles we have become, bottles of

Ink, bottles smashed against the playground
Walls for all feet to bleed, the lip readers

Talking to the hair-raisers, those bored
Down on us, cutting off locks, clocking

The breeze, chalking another sidewalk
With something else we can’t read,

A direction, something gravely triangular,
A riddance in capitals, a contradiction

Of the dying, the curtains drawn on
The windows, everything gone but

The hypotenuse, swelling in the heat,
Pointing to its own heavenly collapse.

Founding of Rome, April 21, 753 B.C.; capture of Troy, 1182 B.C.; trap door spider; learn by
going; how do we learn; ask the right question; last, to follow a track, footprint, to follow a
course; delirium, furrow; maieutic, Socratic method; seven wells to go to; majuscule, word
weave; collective unconscious, conscious, subconscious, unconscious; Marxist false
consciousness, hyper conscious, self-conscious; preconscious, semi-conscious, stream of, river
of; food history; tendon, tent, entertain, tenor, tavern from trave; lieutenant, tenant, tenement,
hypotenuse; pretend, portend, attend, extend, ostensible, tender, tense; entasis, intentional 
swelling of a column to compensate for the illusion of concavity, straight lines; epitasis, middle 
part of a play; neoteny; in lieu of the loo; when veering is good and when it isn’t; ablative, 
buck, cuckold, duck, yuck, fuck, huck, gunk, funk, junk, luck, muck, knuckle; puck, quack, 
rucksack, such, suck, tuck, ticket, trinket, vuch, what, zuck, wot


Edward Mayes

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Edward Mayes

Edward Mayes is the author of five books of poetry, including First Language (Juniper Prize, University of Massachusetts Press) and Works & Days (Associated Writing Programs Prize for Poetry, University of Pittsburgh Press). He is also co-author, with his wife, Frances Mayes, of three books about Tuscany, all published by Random House: In Tuscany, Bringing Tuscany Home, and The Tuscan Sun Cookbook. He has published poems in The Southern Review, Poetry, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and The Best American Poetry, with recent poems in The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, Southwest Review, and Crazyhorse. He continues to collaborate on a series of poetry/painting projects and installations with the Cuban-born architect/artist Alberto Alfonso. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina and Cortona, Italy.