“How one walks through the world, the endless small adjustments of balance, is affected by the shifting weights of beautiful things.”
—Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just
Doug Paul Case is a photographer and writer based in Bloomington, where he earned his MFA in poetry from Indiana University. He is poetry editor of Hobart, and his first book of poems, Americanitis, is due out from Eyewear Publishing in Fall 2022.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Doug, what poems have you brought for us today?
I Have No Idea How Tall I Am
That can’t be me in this photograph…
Who would believe the landscape,
the boundary of the print’s white border?
Fingertips and a smudge and a smudge—
we might as well have erased the reflection,
the memory card.
How long will we last?
All I want for my birthday is one of those cameras that needs a 3.5” floppy disk for storage,
that or a rock into the streetlight.
We could see the stars.
How did they get in here?
People don’t peer at me from around things enough
Columns fir trees and statues of war heroes specifically
Sometimes I see ghosts in my hair that turn out to be just hair
I forgot how it is to really feel the wind
This is only the edge of the hurricane
This is only the meadow he and I romp in
This is only a memory we’ll have decades from now
If not we then someone
Someone is always recording even the smallest of sporting events
My favorite definition of record is the traditional
My favorite sporting event is the long jump
Do stronger men prefer the discus throw
& its current windless record of 74.08 meters
Wouldn’t they miss the momentum
The lavender speed necessary for lift
Imagine with me each granule of displaced sand
How even in disappointment we can be beautiful
New Decade Poem
This one begins, as so
many do, w/ a throwaway
thought: mid-century yellow
chair for the living
room, perhaps the bedroom,
some corner to curl w/
the cat & a Twombly
monograph. Say what you
will about his lines, I feel
alive most(ly) when looking
at them. That & something
quite want to put down.
That is, I wouldn’t if I knew.
How can one be a poet
by looking? I mean, only
looking, preferring his Achilles
to Homer’s, a novelist
as any, had prose yet
been invented. The joke’s
point: everything has its
time, its ghost waiting
in the chair I haven’t
found. Lately I want
everything yellow: flowers,
obviously(?), shoes, scarves,
bell peppers, glasses (neon,
but, from where?), bananas days
before they’re ready for bread,
what we’ve got of the sun
before it envelops the entire system going supernova
(or however those things go),
a teakettle for the stove.
This isn’t, I swear,
about my disposition or
anything but the cones
in my retinas. That fact
about pupil dilation?
True. Someday perhaps
a yellow rug in an already
True: enough(!). None of this
is the future, none,
at least, the one promised.
If we knew by whom
would we need poetry?
& oh, how could I forget
the cat in this poem(!): she came
named Kitten, & honestly
what a goal to keep,
bathing in a sunbeam—