Weekly Poem: from ‘Doppler Elegies’

By Ben Lerner

By any measure, it was endless
winter. Emulsions with
Then circled the lake like
This is it. This April will be
Inadequate sensitivity to green. I rose
early, erased for an hour
Silk-brush and axe
I’d like to think I’m a different person
latent image fading

around the edges and ears
Overall a tighter face
now. Is it so hard for you to understand
From the drop-down menu
In a cluster of eight poems, I selected
sleep, but could not
I decided to change everything
Composed entirely of stills
or fade into the trees

but could not
remember the dream
save for one brief shot
of a woman opening her eyes
Ari, pick up. I’m a different person
In a perfect world, this would be
April, or an associated concept
Green to the touch
several feet away


I want to finish the book in time
period. Confused bees
In a perfect world
a willow-effect. Rain on the recording
Fine with this particular form
of late everything, a spherical
break of colored stars
a voice described as torn in places
Why am I always

asleep in your poems
Soft static falling through
The life we’ve chosen
from a drop-down menu
of available drives. Look at me
Ben, when am I
This isn’t my voice
At such-and-such smooth rate, the lines
Stream at night

and love. Why not speak of it
as all work now
is late work. Leafage, fountain, cloud
into whose sunlit depths
I’m quoting. Is there a place for this
she cut her hair
She held it towards me
In your long dream
money changes hands


Ben LernerBen Lerner’s first book, “The Lichtenberg Figures” (Copper Canyon, 2004), won the Hayden Carruth Award from Copper Canyon Press and was named one of 2004’s best books of poetry by Library Journal. His second book, “Angle of Yaw” (Copper Canyon, 2006), was a finalist for the National Book Award and Northern California Book Award. His most recent book is “Mean Free Path” (Copper Canyon, 2010). Lerner teaches writing and literature at Brooklyn College.

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