A NEW KIND OF POEM
for (and after) Arda Collins
There is no ocean in your ear to it.
What there is is this muffin,
left a long time on the granite countertop.
It is a kind of decision. You decide
to write a new poem. Invent a better equipped kitchen.
Stainless steel appliances, a refrigerator
whose refusal to hum
is both frightening and reconciliatory.
It gets quieter.
It gets sort of orange. You think
of the word lavender. You have no choice but to.
There it is, just floating direly in front of your face.
How many types of ambiguity can a muffin conjure up?
Did you really ask yourself this? Between the questions,
as between two towering beachfront hotels, there are waves
upon waves upon waves passing through a tiny sliver of ocean.
What, exactly, do you think of the word lavender?
Do you think you can put your ear to it?
I’m trying to be completely unambiguous.
If I were to say, “The only thing inside
a muffin is muffin,” I would certainly mean it.
Noah Eli Gordon is the author of several collections, including Novel Pictorial Noise, which was selected by John Ashbery for the 2006 National Poetry Series, and subsequently chosen for the 2007 San Francisco State University Poetry Center Book Award. His essays, reviews, poetry, creative nonfiction and other itinerant writings can be found in recent and forthcoming issues of Bookforum, Boston Review, DenverQuarterly, Fence, The Massachusetts Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, and elsewhere. He pens a quarterly column on chapbook culture for Rain Taxi: Review of Books, and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder.