the museum of americana

a literary review

Listening to Manage the Year (Thelonious Monk) — Poetry by Lauren Camp

  
He begins with only a shadow of the toil

               to tell He begins with not even


and underfoot makes a slip and wandering Begins by lifting

               a bruise Begins with the airsound


of an uncommon question or a thorn and ekes

               a scratch some call wrong and so


the ritual of beginning begins a bent depression He circles

               and tauts and forges


a groove leaping to the shortest He begins

               to put his arms through the room


with his transubstantiated trills that exist to begin

               maybe more etched and


round about me Begin

          and he begins Ask Me Now let me tell you I didn’t want


holy didn’t know I needed

               urgent angles He begins to not begin but to


turn back and it is then I hear the purpose

               of echo and the open body


of silence The terrible world with its plinks and more

               half-remembered laws and no one


is without end

 

~~~

LCamp02Lauren Camp is the author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press). Her poems have appeared in Witness, Poet Lore, Kenyon Review, Terrain.org and Image. Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the North American Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic. www.laurencamp.com