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Weekly Poem: Michael Davidson reads ‘The Terror’

The Terror

When we come full circle
to the rose garden in the Imaginary
will we remember the Terror

the names who crimes are invented
in order to have something else to kill
the king’s absent face at the window

across from the dock
the names of the trains
that run on time for the first time

I think of this
when I read of the stupidity of princes
with breakfast, by midday

the stock market has made one of them rich
and part of my breakfast
has bought his lunch

and paid someone to espalier
his roses across an adobe wall
they never die, the pronouns

become so malleable
they refer to anyone
but never oneself

something must be exchanged
for the privilege of joining a word
to its source , something must not fit

for its replacement to be the wrong size
then the Terror begins
in the hot weather

when they drain all the pools
and the bidding wars keep them empty
the contractor who will inherit the earth

is figuring out how to do it
even as we speak
just listen

Photo by Sophia Davidson

Photo by Sophia Davidson

Michael Davidson is a professor of literature at University of California, San Diego. Davidson has published five other books of poetry, including “The Arcades”(O Books, 1998). “Bleed Through: New and Selected Poems” (Coffee House Press, 2013), published in December, is his first book of poems in 15 years.

“The Terror” is reprinted by permission from Bleed Through (Coffee House Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Michael Davidson.

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