The Blue Book


He learned from the poems he wrote,
one by one, as he had to;
for we break our own hearts,
are sentenced to a lifetime’s exposure,
and an indeterminate length left soaking
in the red room, hung out
and asked to show just one memory
from before the music stopped playing.

A test to see if you remember
silly things like the half-life of laughter,
or its inevitable decay
to a background giggle,
barely readable between
all the cosmic burps.

The thing to wait on,
to reach there in time for,
he says, gazing out on the world,
is the moment people reveal themselves,
making snapshots of a moving feeling
that truth is here, that it breathes between
frames and is caught in the half gesture
she is beginning to make,
her eyes lighting up the far horizon,
excited by what waits there,
beneath the artificial stillness of seized light,
as if the point were just to part the curtain,
play with the shadow that falls
between each other’s presence,
each other’s wonder,
each other’s all too human plight.


Susan Sontag

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