David RivardUSAWriting2012

The work I did at Civitella was of two kinds, both of which I'd had in mind for a couple of years but hadn't found a way into as yet--happily, this place gives permission most of all among its many gifts. I made a dozen or so poems in a stripped-down, more aired-out idiom--more of a lyric mode, rather than the discursiveness I'd been pursuing lately--these seem to have a lot of imagery in them picked up from the energizing walks I took in the surrounding hills. My other project was a 20-page poem, largely autobiographical--more straight-forward, lots of direct observation, collaged together bits of the anecdotal past. We'll see what it looks like months from now, but I'm excited to be carrying it all home.


I love you
I know as much as anything
for your courage
so companionably invisible
as it is
that it passes mostly
as simple
good sense. I don’t mean you’re
practical at all—god forbid—
only persistent
as far as dying brothers & cold calls
are concerned—not violent,
not weak, but like a lantern afloat on a wave
open if necessary
to sinking your light
offshore. Onshore
I am as you would know
strongly sometimes
impatient & inside a swarm of loud thoughts
self-absorbed & locked-up.
If you were to die
who would remove me
from those thoughts?
When you lean your forehead
against mine
what you hear inside there
are all those
sounds likely, vibrations
like windowpanes rattled by headland squalls
or bullet trains
late forever & loaded down
with passengers green
as hoodie-wearing witches.
I lean my forehead against
your forehead
gently knowing both
will shortly vanish.
“First of all,” says
Virgil, “find
a protected place
for the bees
to make their
honey, a place that’s
safe from wind.”