I am amazed that in all the years of posting poems, I’ve neglected Adrienne Rich. She was a big influence back in the 70’s:
I actually heard her read at Stanford maybe 10 or 15 years ago. She was very brusque and cranky and I think she said she wouldn’t be able to sign books. She seemed tired of being famous.
Whatever it was, the image that stopped you, the one on which you
came to grief, projecting it over & over on empty walls.
Now to give up the temptations of the projector; to see instead the
web of cracks filtering across the plaster.
To read there the map of the future, the roads radiating from the
initial split, the filaments thrown out from that impasse
To reread the instructions on your palm; to find there how the
lifeline, broken, keeps its direction.
To read the etched rays of the bullet-hole left years ago in the
glass; to know in every distortion of the light what fracture is.
To put the prism in your pocket, the thin glass lens, the map
of the inner city, the little book with gridded pages.
To pull yourself up by your own roots; to eat the last meal in
your old neighborhood.