I checked back through the past four years and was sort of astonished and definitely embarrassed that one of my long-time favorite, living and active American writers has never featured up to now on any of these virtual pages. Below is her new piece from the current issue of Poetry.
In goes the cafeteria worker in her hairnet.
In goes the philosophy teacher
explaining the theory of eternal
return, and Anton Stadler with his clarinet,
still owing money to Mozart. In
goes Mozart. Everyone flopped into the creel
of the happy fisherman, everyone eaten.
Every river is Lethean,
so why should we care
if it’s not the same river? I hate
how everything changes, tree
to failing term paper, chatelaine
to beheaded plotter, drug dealer to narc.
The heart softening faster than cereal
but then hardening to a relic
which turns into another line
of depressed poetry to recite
to the next eager trainee
anxious to be more than lint.
Going up, you’re also going down, so either
way, as your mother said, Be nice.
When she went in, she was very thin.
Earth, air, fire, water, mother.
Fish pulse slowly under the river ice.
The first Addonizio book I read was the 1997 novel-in-verse called Jimmy & Rita, set in the same San Francisco neighborhoods where I live and work. Since 1997 I have reread it two or three times with ever-increasing admiration. Therefore am I extra glad to discover that this excellent book has just been republished here.