Irrealis

A New Poem by Geoffrey G. O’Brien

February 21, 2018  By Geoffrey G. O’Brien


They were us and looking for us
Looking out for us and from
A way of being that kept
Taking distance to its heart
Say I want time with you while
Apart, or want at different times
The same experience to steal
Over inattention somewhat
So that what doesn’t happen
As the speaker speaks happens
Anyway anywhere else
Then you need good comms
The page or board, little glows
Ellipsis crawls across the if of
To mark the gap between one
Another under construction
New-old and half-built

A meeting place where neither can
Presence at the same time
That works anyway or because
Speaking takes up learning
Every sentence is a fortune
To the end of which you add
The phrase in bed or next
Business day in the hollows
The hollows under is
Say every sentence is
A Dear John letter for all
With extra bells and whistles
To someone who just happens
Not to be named John or does
To the beginning add That feeling
When winter spreads its net
New-old and of no age

No one really in it or passed
Right through the time that’s gone
In being had far true long
Do you see how to use distance
To feel togetherness look out
From for us, adding something
To either side? Goodbye John
Hello I see your conversion
Of pain to joy as it passes
For speech, speech for conversation
Here where it never snows
Except as random chatter
Hot and cold as a tone
I pass through not knowing
Who sees me again about to hit
Send and destroy what else
The ellipsis held open




Geoffrey G. O’Brien
Geoffrey G. O’Brien
Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s next book, Experience in Groups, will be out from Wave Books in April 2018. He is the author most recently of People on Sunday (Wave, 2013) and the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets (Minus A Press, 2012). O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.









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