Loudville by David Bartone

I would reenter
                           the world by tracking
the bear away from its den
                                               but a cut of signs walks me
discriminately to my home.
                                                 I cannot say
the comprehensive living inside
                                                        a natural world feels
comprehensively like a world
                                                    I belong to. Whereas August
truly belongs to yellow jackets
                                                      as my leg again does prove,
it is clear that more than I care to
                                                           assign a name to belongs
to home, which I am pulled back to
                                                                in even the ditch efforts
to venture from. Did I tell you what I noticed today,
                                                                                            earliest
autumn scraping the dwindled lateral branches
                                                                                    high on
the border maple
                              over the far side of the farm. The raking
muscles not yet throbbing
                                              won’t approximate the core concepts
of what causes my wife such white nausea.
                                                                           To live is to cause
such trouble. To think of
                                             lifting one’s head is like lifting
fieldstones, few they are
                                            as the one lone stone stands
in the herb patch. In the poem
                                                      the poet is only a hunter
firing a gun in the act of fantasy and power
                                                                            that may
accidentally kill
                            his younger brother or her firing instructor,
and cause the most remarkable human guilt
                                                                             which is to say
all guilt, to occur.
                               Gregory Orr, outlasting empathizer.
To have knowledge
                                   now the book of the bleeding is the
boyhood of the poem that is
                                                  the bonded not blinded.
The French have a word for it—
                                                          le non-dit. And the un-
manageable pantheon speaks back
                                                             a song of living autumn.
We should be so lucky to know the Earth
                                                                        has no regard
for the obscure missives of any one species.
                                                                           Think turkeys.
Think the ten poults
                                    March-born, up to near the size
of the hens
                    in the multiple hen-brood flocks that apparently
populate these yards. Think a theory,
                                                                  an art that reflects
the days before the hens run off
                                                         with the jake flock. Is it all that
different from daily love
                                            here on the farm? Three days labor
digs nine holes amended with good
                                                              intentions and plants
empire, king, macoun, red mac, and cortland apples
                                                                                            starting
from the road in that order
                                                on the far side of the farm, two
montmorencies for the canning
                                                         and pear, a bosc and chojuro,
these in the front of the yard. An orchard
                                                                        of future fools.
And then I build
                              three leaf bins and agonize
their location. I miss
                                     making decisions with my wife and she
is impossibly gracious from the couch
                                                                    though she cannot
as much as speak
                               without throwing up. I try to enjoy early
autumn in her absence,
                                          I try to have it for us, I try to give
it to our boy. The pup comes home in a week.
                                                                                 I want
for pregnancy all things. We put on ball caps
                                                                                and play catch
on the front yard and my wife says
                                                             she can’t see us but she
sees the ball going by the window
                                                            and she smiles. Resigned is
the will to live perfectly, the poem reaching
                                                                             after late-stage life.
So many things are bedding
                                                  in the writing of the poem:
the room, the wide windows on the west-face
                                                                                 of the house
which is the front of the house
                                                      and the slope down
on the other side of the road recalls my father,
                                                                                  the wood
stove’s last-night ashes,
                                         the dog crate to the gills with toys
with tags still on them,
                                         wife in four shades of grey cotton
cheeks gaining thin pink.
                                             I know several poets who memorized
long amorous poems
                                      during onset paternity. I know
several fathers who longed
                                               for many early poems
during amore. Ten years may pass.
                                                              I don’t know
if it’s actually wrong to be
                                              an idealist in the poem.

 
 

Notes on “Loudville”

I am almost always thinking of how much (or how how little) writing has changed over the past ten years, and how much it has changed me, and so it is a pleasurable toy to consider a new poem in such light. I wanted to contribute a few paragraphs to accompany “Loudville,” addressing more explicitly the departures I’ve made since early apt, but the better part of me likes a poem to stand alone, so to speak. (Poetry is never really alone.) I’m happy to contribute such prose if, reader, you find in it pleasure or profit.

What my apt poems from five years ago showed me was an unerring pleasure in the pastures of longing. I believe I was in a wonderful love affair, and that fact seemed important not to me but to where I wrote from. I saw that. Joy Williams has said this, in a couple different ways: “Methods limit you as soon as you recognize them. Then you have to find another form to free yourself.”

Since then I wrote a book—Practice on Mountains—that seemed to take as its primary audience everyone-but-my-lover. I am still writing in the aftermath of that rhetorical situation. The improvement has been vision and the heart.

“Loudville” is a space for me to adopt the role of the documentarian—charting idea, gaining in experience—perceiving at an edge of meaning. It is the poet’s responsibility to record the moment some silence ceases or some awakening occurs, or—most interestingly—some delicate thing sustains. When satisfied, we should be happy to carry on to the next thing. Or is it to fade? Or is it to surge?

 
 
 

More work by David Bartone in apt:
“To Celebrate Like Champagne” (First print annual, January 2011)
“Omolara” (First print annual, January 2011)
“The Affair” (First print annual, January 2011)

 

 

David Bartone’s book, Practice on Mountains, was selected for the 2013 Sawtooth Poetry Prize by Dan Beachy-Quick. He is also the author of Spring Logic, a chapbook with H_NGM_N. Recent poems have appeared at Pleiades, Hotel Amerika, jubilat, and others. He is faculty at University Without Walls at UMass Amherst. He lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.



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