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Paul Simon

Paul Simon
Paul Simon
  • Such a brave generation.
  • We marched onto the streets
  • in our T-shirts and jeans, holding
  • the hand of the stranger next to us
  • with a trust I can’t summon now,
  • our voices raised in song.
  • Our rooms were lit by candlelight,
  • wax dripping onto the table, then
  • onto the floor, leaving dusty
  • starbursts we would pop off
  • with the edge of a butter knife
  • when it was time to move.
  • But before we packed and drove
  • into the middle of our lives
  • we watched the leaves outside
  • the window shift in the wind
  • and listened to Paul Simon,
  • his cindery voice, then fell back
  • into our solitude, leveled our eyes
  • on the American horizon
  • that promised us everything
  • and knew it was never true:
  • smoke and blinders, insubstantial
  • as fingerprints on glass.
  • It isn’t easy to give up hope,
  • to escape a dream. We shed
  • our clothes and cut our hair,
  • our former beauty piled at our feet.
  • And still the music lived inside us,
  • whole worlds unmaking us
  • in the dark so that sleeping and waking
  • we heard the train’s distant whistle,
  • steel trestles shivering
  • across the land that was still ours
  • in our bones and hearts, its lone headlamp
  • searching the weedy stockyards,
  • the damp, gray rag of fog.

Dorianne Laux, a greatly admired American poet, is Poet in Residence at North Carolina State University and also teaches for the Pacific University low residency MFA program in Oregon. Where Poe bartends. She is married to the poet Joe Millar. “Paul Simon” was previously published in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and in the current issue of Serving House Journal. It is reprinted by permission.

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Paul Simon
Paul Simon
  • Such a brave generation.
  • We marched onto the streets
  • in our T-shirts and jeans, holding
  • the hand of the stranger next to us
  • with a trust I can’t summon now,
  • our voices raised in song.
  • Our rooms were lit by candlelight,
  • wax dripping onto the table, then
  • onto the floor, leaving dusty
  • starbursts we would pop off
  • with the edge of a butter knife
  • when it was time to move.
  • But before we packed and drove
  • into the middle of our lives
  • we watched the leaves outside
  • the window shift in the wind
  • and listened to Paul Simon,
  • his cindery voice, then fell back
  • into our solitude, leveled our eyes
  • on the American horizon
  • that promised us everything
  • and knew it was never true:
  • smoke and blinders, insubstantial
  • as fingerprints on glass.
  • It isn’t easy to give up hope,
  • to escape a dream. We shed
  • our clothes and cut our hair,
  • our former beauty piled at our feet.
  • And still the music lived inside us,
  • whole worlds unmaking us
  • in the dark so that sleeping and waking
  • we heard the train’s distant whistle,
  • steel trestles shivering
  • across the land that was still ours
  • in our bones and hearts, its lone headlamp
  • searching the weedy stockyards,
  • the damp, gray rag of fog.

Dorianne Laux, a greatly admired American poet, is Poet in Residence at North Carolina State University and also teaches for the Pacific University low residency MFA program in Oregon. Where Poe bartends. She is married to the poet Joe Millar. “Paul Simon” was previously published in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and in the current issue of Serving House Journal. It is reprinted by permission.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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