William Neumire

Toward a Sense of Self-Sufficiency, an Interview

Can you describe where you live now?
a barn touched by spokes of sun
rust particles of light speed of light
speed of thought slowness irrigated field
mechanics of water root systems
dishes in the cupboard separation
church state
milk buckets measure of work
daylight savings radishes
beef-slabs butter grain harvest thresh rain
daughter son meat constitution dissonance
of field and wife household and husband homework
and father horses and pregnancy of hay bale
and afghan carcass and television

Why did you choose a farm in such a modern world?
self-sufficiency. Subtracting into barn and garden,
deep interiors, rafters, blood, axe, boards
all I’ll ever need. I don’t want the world
to trump me. I want the last play.

What of the things you’ll always depend on?
Let them be what they may. We all beg for something.


Dream of Living Alone in an Unfinished Kitchen

Pipes finger out of the wall, linoleum torn up at the corners,
I say things like storms draw up all the emptiness of other days
and stay up three straight nights thinking neologisms
and setting shibboleths in the dusty cupboards of their birth
Ignoring my own crooked pants, unbuttoned cuffs,
orioles on the other side of the splintered window,
their stringy bodies conjuring the weight of their organs in song.

The kitchen is not the thing. The fact that it’s half-lit, lodged
between ribs is not the thing. The fact that the body doesn’t
seem to tabulate facts, register arguments, is not the thing.
The thing is wherever I am might as well be Sears, postwar
Prague, the bottom of the god-damn ocean, because it’s all view:
a train passing mountains, from the one sincere room.


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