Tuesday, November 1, 2011

C. K. Williams

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Giving It Up
C. K. Williams

It is an age
of such bestial death
that even before we die
our ghosts go.
I have felt mine while I slept
send shoots over my face,
probing some future char
there, tasting the flesh
and the sweat
as though for the last time

And I have felt him
extricate himself and go,
crying, softening himself
and matching his shape
to new bodies; merging,
sliding into souls,
into motors, buildings,
stop signs, policemen—
anything.

By morning, he is back.
Diminished, shorn
of his light, he lies crumpled
in my palm, shivering
under my breath like cellophane.
And every day
there is nothing to do
but swallow him like a cold
tear
and get on with it.

from Lies (1969)

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C.K. Williams' poetry of youth and age | Video on TED.com
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