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Poems by Franz Wright

March 29, 2010

“Wheeling Motel”

The vast waters flow past its back yard.

You can purchase a six-pack in bars!
Tammy Wynette’s on the marquee

a block down. It’s twenty-five years ago:

you went to death, I to life, and

which was luckier God only knows.

There’s this line in an unpublished poem of yours.
The river is like that,

a blind familiar.

The wind will die down when I say so;
the leaden and lessening light on
the current.

Then the moon will rise
like the word reconciliation,

like Walt Whitman examining the tear on a dead face.

— from Wheeling Motel
“Beginning Again”

“If I could stop talking, completely
cease talking for a year, I might beg
to get well,” he muttered.

Off alone again performing
brain surgery on himself
in a small badly lit

room with no mirror. A room
whose floor ceiling and walls

are all mirrors, what a mess

oh my God—

And still
it stands,
the question
not how begin

again, but rather


So we sit there

the mountain

and me, Li Po
said, until only the mountain




We speak of Heaven who have not yet accomplished
even this, the holiness of things

precisely as they are, and never will!

Before death was I saw the shining wind.

To disappear, today’s as good a time as any.

To surrender at last

to the vast current –
And look, even now there’s still time.

Time for the glacial, cloud-paced

soundless music to unfold once more.

Time, inexhaustible wound, for
our unwitnessed and destitute coronation.

— from God's Silence