m_topn picture

M A Y   1 9 9 4

m_rub_po picture

GORGEOUS SURFACES

by Thomas Lux



audioear picture Hear Thomas Lux read this poem (in RealAudio).

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Thomas Lux:
Henry Clay's Mouth (1999)
The Man Into Whose Yard You Should Not Hit Your Ball (1998)
Torn Shades (1996)
He Has Lived in Many Houses (1996)
Virgule (1992)
Snake Lake (1984)

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

They are, the surfaces, gorgeous: a master
pastry chef at work here, the dips and whorls,
the wrist-twist
squeezes of cream from the tube
to the tart, sweet bleak sugarwork, needlework
toward the perfect lace doily
where sit the bone-china teacups, a little maze
of meaning maybe in their arrangement
sneaky obliques, shadow
allusives all piling
atop one another. Textures succulent but famished,
banal, bereft. These surfaces,
these flickering patinas,
through which,
if you could drill, or hack,
or break a trapdoor latch, if you could penetrate
these surfaces' milky cataracts, you
would drop,
free-fall
like a hope chest full of lead
to nowhere, no place, a dry-wind, sour,
nada place,
and you would keep dropping,
tumbling, slow
motion, over and over for one day, six days, fourteen
decades, eleven centuries (a long time
falling to fill a zero) and in that time
not a leaf, no rain,
not a single duck, nor hearts, not one human, nor sleep,
nor grace, nor graves--falling
to where the bottom, finally, is again the surface,
which is gorgeous, of course,
which is glue, saw- and stone-dust,
which is blue-gray
ice, which is
the barely glinting grit
of abyss.




Copyright © 1994 by Thomas Lux. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Originally published in
The Atlantic Monthly, May 1994.

m_nv_cv picture m_nv_un picture m_nv_am picture m_nv_pr picture m_nv_as picture m_nv_se picture