A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World
📖 eBook - ePub

A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World


Adam Clay

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📖 eBook - ePub

A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World


Adam Clay

About This Book

"At the edge of the world, you'll want to have this book. The final lines of Adam Clay's poem, 'Scientific Method, ' have been haunting me for weeks." — Iowa Press-Citizen The distilled, haunting, and subtly complex poems in Adam Clay's A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World often arrive at that moment when solitude slips into separation, when a person suddenly realizes he can barely see the place he set out from however long ago. He now sees he must find his connection back to the present, socially entangled world in which he lives. For Clay, reverie can be a siren's song, luring him to that space in which prisoners will begin "to interrogate themselves." Clay pays attention to the poet's return to the world of his daily life, tracking the subtly shifting tenors of thought that occur as the landscape around him changes. Clay is fully aware of the difficulties of Thoreau's "border life, " and his poems live somewhere between those of James Wright and John Ashbery: They seek wholeness, all the while acknowledging that "a fragment is as complete as thought can be." In the end, what we encounter most in these poems is a generous gentleness—an attention to the world so careful it's as if the mind is "washing each grain of sand." "Poems that are in turn clear and strange, and always warmly memorable." —Bob Hicok "These poems engage fully the natural world... even as they understand the individual's exclusion from it." — Publishers Weekly

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Let us all be from somewhere. Let us tell each other everything we can.
–Bob Hicok,
“A Primer”
dp n="76" folio="66" ?

Elegy for a Thousand Half-Masts


If Saturday could be the Natural History of something —
let’s say plants

and be done with it. After all.
After all this time the storm window still slaps
against the house and the rainsong

reminds me of digging
into someone

with one word over and over
until that word becomes the root of all words, the manic starting point

of sound and noise blending into each other, a soldier
walking through the woods

and finding himself as a boy.
dp n="77" folio="67" ?


If a metal barrel long cold. If a tree pointed to a sky

I can only call declarative at this hour, at this moment:
a courageous landscape

gone cold through the tight view of a camera lens,
a microscopic view of a life, abridged and abbreviated

to a single moment
at the kitchen sink, a broken glass, feeling your heartbeat rise up and out,

a fluttering

not like a bird, but like a sentence of advice — who said it,
you can’t remember now — that if you

must get drunk with the moon,
make sure it’s a new moon

so no one — not even yourself —
can see if you have become the reflection you dreamt yourself to be.
dp n="78" folio="68" ?


Birds waiting past April to return —
you looked outside.

You flipped a coin
in your fingers in the pocket of your jacket

and you thought of — no — you yearned to be

as though restlessness were the only way
you could feel at home —

for at home the icebox hums,
the heat dries out your eyes,

the hard water of the shower
weighs you down —

cracked driveway — narrative scripted,

dp n="79" folio="69" ?


A spoon brandished at the sky, light reflected back at the sun,

a fishbone for your thoughts, a fishbone for the throat
of memory. True, a throat’s too likely to choke on a lie,

a glass bottle buried in the garden —
slightly cracked — but reliability branches from vulnerability,

or at least that’s what your mother said
as she looked into the woods shrinking back
from the porch light,
the symmetry only dreams are made of.

And dipping here in this cultivated storm,

a cartographer whose map changes daily —
it is only the wind,

it is only the wind
that changes the landscape,

the savage wind

takes you apart — a part of you — a memory, a map.
dp n="80" folio="70" ?

Light Bulb Hum

I see myself in the flicker
and swell of burning out. The sound of a bridge

being rebuilt. A spark for good luck. A bridge
on the other side of the world
falls in on itself,

and the neighbor’s dog barks through the night.

A quilt seen against the eyelids, a dark I know now
thanks to light. Little did I know at the beginning.

A thousand facts about the end
of the world. A twenty-one gun salute. A glass of wine
gripped tight, split open against the palm.

I am sure my knees are well worn from praying beneath

an untreadable flag, a heavy offering plate I see in the sun.
What more do we have to give? The dog barks on —

the sparks above the new bridge fly,
and the weather above us listens to everything below far better

than we could have hoped for. When I think
of a thousand years,

I think of nothing but sand and smoke, I think of a patient sadness
that will out-wait the memory of a spark.
dp n="81" folio="71" ?

In Light of Recent Developments

We are not thinking of the president
tonight. Even now, there is a maze cut into a cornfield

not far from here.
The leaves pile up and we wait on the porch,

we are waiting for the leaves
to self-combust and enter the air, the atmosphere, our lungs.

It’s easy to mistake
dust for smoke. It’s easy to think of William Blake while the sun

burns a hole in my eyes. There is a certain labor I see in the sun,
a type of hard work someone once

warned me against — as if hard work and sweat
could wipe one from the face of the earth. Thinking
of salt pork and a bridge

fit ...

Table of contents

Citation styles for A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the WorldHow to cite A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World for your reference list or bibliography: select your referencing style from the list below and hit 'copy' to generate a citation. If your style isn't in the list, you can start a free trial to access over 20 additional styles from the Perlego eReader.
APA 6 Citation
Clay, A. (2012). A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World ([edition unavailable]). Milkweed Editions. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/2988812/a-hotel-lobby-at-the-edge-of-the-world-poems-pdf (Original work published 2012)
Chicago Citation
Clay, Adam. (2012) 2012. A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World. [Edition unavailable]. Milkweed Editions. https://www.perlego.com/book/2988812/a-hotel-lobby-at-the-edge-of-the-world-poems-pdf.
Harvard Citation
Clay, A. (2012) A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World. [edition unavailable]. Milkweed Editions. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/2988812/a-hotel-lobby-at-the-edge-of-the-world-poems-pdf (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Clay, Adam. A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World. [edition unavailable]. Milkweed Editions, 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.