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Read & Listen | Feel Free by Nick Laird

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I recommend you listen to Rowan Ricardo Phillips wonderful reading of Nick Laird’s poem Feel Free from the New Yorker poetry podcast at the link:

https://soundcloud.com/newyorker/rowan-ricardo-philips-reads-feel-free-by-nick-laird#t=4:41

Feel Free by Nick Laird

To deal with all the sensational loss I like to interface
with Earth. I like to do this in a number of ways.
I like to feel the work I am exerting being changed,

the weight of my person refigured, and I like to hang
above the ground, thus; hammocks, snorkeling, alcohol.
I also like the mind to feel a kind of neutral buoyancy

and to that end I set aside a day a week, Shabbat,
to not act. Having ceded independence to the sunset
I will not be shaving, illuminating rooms, or raising

the temperature of food. If occasionally I like to feel
the leavening of being near a much larger unnatural
tension, I walk off a Sunday through the high fields

of blanket bog, saxifrage, a few thin Belted Galloways,
rounding Lough Mallon to stand by the form of beauty
upheld in a scrubby acre at Creggandevsky, where I do

duck and enter under a capstone mapped by rival empires
of yellow feather-moss and powdery white lichen. I like
then to stop, crouched, and press my back on a housing

of actual rock, coldness which lives for a while on the skin.
And I like when I give you the nightfeed, Harvey, how you’re
really concentrating on it: fists clenched, eyes shut, like this is bliss.

II

I like a steady disruption. I like it when the solid mantle turns
to shingle and water rushes up it over and over, in love.
My white-noise machine from Argos is set to Crashing Wave

but I’m not averse to the presence of numerous and minute
quanta moving very fast in unison; occasions when a light
wind undulates the ears of wheat, or a hessian sack of pearl-

barley seed is sliced with a pocket knife and pours. I like
the way it sounds pattering on stone. I like how the starlings
over Monti cohere and separate their bodies into one cyclonic
symphony, and I like that the hawk of the mind catches at
their purse, pulse, caul, arc. I like the excitation passing as
a shadow-ripple back and how the bag is snatched, rolls

slack; straight, falciform; mouthing; bulbing; a pumping
heart. I like to interface with millions of colored pixels
depicting attractive people procreating on a screen itself

dependent on rare metals mined by mud-gray children
who trudge up bamboo scaffolding above a grayish-red lake
of belching mud. I like how the furnace burning earth instills

in me reflexive gestures of timidity and self-pity and deference
as I walk along the kinder surfaces, grass, say, or sand,
unable ever to meet with my eyes the gaze of the sun.
III

I can imagine that my first and fifth marriages will be
to the same human, a woman, the first marriage working
well enough that we decide to try again as soon as it’s,

you know, mutually convenient. I can see that. I like the fact
that we’re “supercooled star matter,” even if I can’t envisage you
as anything other than warm and bleating. The thing is

I can be persuaded fairly easily to initiate immune responses
by the fake safety signals of national anthems, cleavage, family
photographs, country lanes, large-eyed mammals, fireworks,

the King James Bible, Nina Simone singing “The Twelfth of Never,”
cave paintings, coffins, dolphins, dolmens. But I like it also
when the fat impasto of the canvas gets slashed by a tourist

with a claw hammer, and a glimpse is caught of what you couldn’t
say. Entanglement I like, spooky action at a distance analogizing
some little thing including this long glance across the escalators

or how you know the song before you switch the station on.
When a photon of light meets a half-silvered mirror and splits
one meets the superposition of two, being twinned: and this repeats.

Tickling your back, Katherine, to get you to sleep, I like to lie here
with my eyes closed and think of my schoolfriends’ houses, before
choosing one to walk through slowly, room by sunlit room.

 

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About Faruk

Music, film and photography loving, information sharing, knowledge hungry citizen of the universe. Keen on making connections and the journey to getting there.

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