Earth

With patience and precision, Hannah Brooks-Motl's third collec­tion of poems, Earth, explores the grand themes of love, family, economy, and home with the skill of a true craftsman. As the measured compositions of these poems shift, so do their near-sculptural forms, and a feeling both classical and contem­porary develops as a result. At times a paean to poetry, other times a critique of it, Earth is a breakthrough collection by a poet whose ceaselessly sharp intellect continues to use poetry to gain insight into not only her own wants and needs, but ours, and those of poetry itself.

Earth

Nothing radical about that technology
Nobody touches this era

Could u fnd a home
Know my brother

Who has a mind too
Has a portion

Going

We were on
the Taconic Parkway

going south
through where Bard is

or not that far
not even

to Poughkeepsie
where Vassar is

not to where
it got wider

going through
the nettles

grasses and beech
the something

killing pine
for 45 minutes

then only 20 more
miles past

the cheap house
on pretty hills

blue mountains
beyond

the slicing road.
In Dutchess county

I considered my life.
Ownership

was impossible!
Enchantment

bent away
from the worm.

Law traveled
through gorges,

the ravines.
All wealth

disappeared
but into which

pocket? Two cabins
around a stump

trying for a
moral vocabulary.

An equivalent
of mind

emptied by apple
picking, plot.

It was good
in the dirt

though we didn’t
judge

the dirt.
There was

a hawk
up there.

A woman
in a truck

just heroic.
There’s some turtle

in the road. Birds
fat birds.

Years aloft
in the mirage.

A denser richer
inside or

a tangled
dark bush.

Froth, then pro
duction.

Downfall to own
and to not

said the traveler
from the edge

of the country.
Perfectly watchful,

a little bitchy.
His porch

where history dies
in a mouth

won’t produce
a singing people.

One situation arrived.
An asbestos barn

arrived, tender
vehicle.

A black painted
awning, this injury

somehow related
to college.

Ability was bringing
these types

together and put
ting death

at the bottom.
Or walking through

one of those hanging
bead walls.

A million tattered
ripped chairs.

A sad face
and a smiley face.

Apprentices instructing
each other

in mimesis.
The visible being

one element
of its sentence,

nature planted
root vegetables

performed life
from memory.

Fed our molecules
to the vault

then history took
that mixture.

I wrote to you
from the common

crawling up
to an income.

You replied
that technique

contained
plenty, caught

the taxi
as it disappeared

from language.
And this collectible

spoon
from the former

democracies;
and that toddler

arranged fetchingly
around the drip

candles.
I’m really

brief
passing through.

Of by itself—
A drying rack.

A canoe no a kayak.
Jutting away toward

the house
in Dutchess county

I heard
your cough

from the outside
leaving

a task
unaccomplished.

Capitol

Magic circle of horses                    + magic funicular.
               heaps of stuff being sold.

               freedom to trace this petty action.
where do we                go now?

floated up there along you                               abandoning you
who was able
                  for better floating, our living

                  + one mother’s voice,            magic little river.
                  heaps of stuff being sold.

                                     the ones who seemed like dicks like Michelangelo
                  or just “consummate artists”—
                  vegetables                out
                  on the ground.

dogs chilling in their roundabouts.

                  so it was coming                      from the corn
                                    the sun prairies    to the maze    /   to the faces
without haloes      .

the wing yellow into white                  + yellow mint.
motif of garden or pocket

while the fog rolls in no
magic from the bunker
                                                                         or what’s coming but magic

                         said she
                         to be alive
at all. the earth

plunged in
                into rooms.

while they worked in shops,
               made something we would call clog or carved
messages to outer space

                                      upon boxes of varying dimensions.
                                      involved their bodies and bodies
of children               in apparatuses

for days or weeks or years.
+ from obscure movements                                  sent out trinkets,

               clothing, God.
               when he died everyone paused
               to take a little stock,
                                  his brief remarks were read aloud.

               energetically the dark converses

like magic the
casino.                   carousel + empty
pyramid.

              metal barricades, old country baroque
              music + lithium.
              long walk for food.

 

                          “the future is hidden.” (Kropotkin)
                          as one retires to her quarters
          the narrative gathers power                          + people remain.
                           meander
through blood.          deciding between

                  the social goods. “meaning and confusion
                              are both beautiful.” (Goodman)

                               + late at night or the mean cashier
old markets                       where a general idea of many
                became sick
                                   unto the reality of one.
                                   the turquoise tarp

housing some pigeons.

                  that property                          of the baron’s,
                                    still there on the moon.