Poems and Texts



I am driving a red pick-up
in a snowstorm down
a mountain, a dip in the
road is deeper than it looks,
the front end wedges in,
the back end pivots up,
I’m upside down and
strapped in, looking out
at a blinding white
and inverted world.
Blood is leaving me
through the top of my head
blood also pours across
my chest and seeps up
through my shirt.
Blood is about to be
dousing my eyes. Just
as a filmy redness
infiltrates my vision
a passerby pulls me out,
wipes away the blood.
He is none other than the
famed anthropologist
Claude Levi Strauss.
Structuralism, he says,
while cleaning my
wound, began as
a dream much like
this one. In his dream
he was learning to
play the harpsichord
when he dislocated
his shoulder and
wound up on
a morphine drip.


“Take these tickets”
he says. “I have been
to Brazil so many times
I no longer need to go.
I close my eyes and
I’m deep in the jungle
once again intuiting
the shape of all thought.”
Then as if canvas
poked through
places in a painting
where all the scenes of
human life were
richly rendered,
a whirlwind of
snow kicked up.
When it settled I
was in New York.

Photo: Star Black

Joseph Donahue

Joseph Donahue is the author of seven books of poetry, the most recent of which are Red Flash on a Black Field, from Black Square Editions, and Dark Church, from Verge. A book length suite of poems, Wind Maps, is forthcoming from Talisman in 2016. He lived for many years in NYC, and now lives in Durham, NC, where he teaches in the English Department at Duke University.

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