Weekly Poem: ‘Something Touched My Heart’

BY Tom LeGro  August 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM EDT

By Travis Nichols

There was a time when songs were magic.
I’ve seen films of this time and when I catch myself
watching these films over and over I feel dead.
Rimbaud in front of the mirror buttering his hair
like he’s Bob Dylan. All I want to do
is the dishes but here I am secretly singing
along, worrying about the rent and surrealism
has it gone out of style? I believe
this life continues into that life
so looking forward to death holds no purpose,
but I do it anyway unsure of my purpose
or who relies on me for their purpose
which someone surely does as I scribble on a wall,
kick over a trashcan and dismiss people from my life
without so much as saying one word to them.
I apologize for falling from grace,
causing your embodied descent and forced
redemption, but that said I could use
another kind of salvation into
the headphoned world of song,
out of this one where I don’t rightly love
those I love for fear of having to love
too long and again with the same love
when it changes. No one can help
lift the weight of the world so real,
and tumbling from the sky she goes
and now she knows she’ll never be
afraid. Just because an action exists
in history doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.
So we’re stoned what are you going to do
tell us about the Beatles?
I don’t believe in Beatles I only believe
love is nothing but a memento mori.
Move me to see my one holy life through two eyes.
The zinnia is so much more real today
than anyone with a mouth I think I’ll slip
inside it and eat some tomatoes.


Travis Nichols is an editor at the Poetry Foundation and the author of the collection of poems, “See Me Improving” (2010, Copper Canyon Press). His first book of poems, “Iowa,” was published in 2009 by Letter Machine Editions, and his first novel, “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder,” was published in 2010 by Coffee House Press. He runs the online journal Weird Deer.