By Stephen Dunn
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
A clever and sleek new assortment via one among our "major, imperative poets" (Sidney Lea). The mysteries of Eros and Thanatos, the obdurate persistence of brain and physique within the face of diminishment--these are the undercurrents of Stephen Dunn's 11th quantity. "I am drawn to exploring the 'different' hours," he says, "not merely of one's existence, but additionally of the bigger ancient and philosophical lifestyles past the personal."
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Additional info for Different Hours
Suppose I present him to the sky. Suppose for three nights in a row I think of him Spread naked against the stars. And I follow Every line of his body with my eyes, from one foot Up the thigh, the striations of the belly, Throat, head, down the other side, filling in The triangle of the groin, over and over Thinking, "Shielded, shielded. " Would it make a difference, Like immersing him in a beneficent river, Every pore protected ? I can believe in the energy of wishing. How the body must engender electricity for the speech, The chemistry of concentration in the pitch of the voice.
How TO STAY SAFE IN THE CITY It iS best to make this rule Keep your door of hard hickory barred, No exceptions If you should hear the bell sound twlCe, Go to the keyhole and hsten Heavy breathmg Means two or more people taller than you Are waltlng Stay qmet If the knocker sounds, it iS the pretentwus Lady m purple, wantmg your skm color, the amount Of change m your pockets Ignore her Anyone who calls through your lock announcmg His miSSiOn too loudly iS a person In robes, clearly 6ctltlous If you come face to face With him, you will be accosted Don't answer Be careful, careful A loud msistent Rappmg with bare knuckles means someone needs Assistance badly He will be ugly, humpbacked And reekmg If you allow it, he will fall On your neck and remam there Leave the door shut Let no one on the other side see your face Peer from behmd curtams, through BB-sized slots, Cracks by the casement Gauge your callers With murors and shadows but stay hidden This iS to your advantage Beware of dwarves and pygmies, monks, Spacemen, young girls with flowers and candles, Ammals that come alone 27 On windy nights push a chair against the knob.
The notion Of the vast will not ignore the arm swinging In motion from the shoulder or the fingers Clasped together in alternation. And when the infant, for the first time, Turns his body over completely, think What an enormous revelation in the brain Must be forced, at that moment, to right itself. 50 THE MAN HIDDEN BEHIND THE DRAPES When I entered the room and turned on the hghts, There were his feet bare beneath the edge Of the drapenes, his tendons flexed, the bony Diamonds of his ankles shadowed If I'd seen His face I might have laughed Remember the naked feet of Chnst seen so often, Washed, kissed, dned m women's hau, Or crossed and bleedmg, pm10ned Like butterfly wmgs 7 When I opened the door, There were his feet below the drapes, as qmet As If they lounged beneath a fme robe Headlights Movmg slowly up the dnve at this pomt Would have fully exposed his nude body m the wmdow, His buttocks tensed, his face turned toward the glare For that moment, then disappeanng agam mto the darkness An artist might have pictured snow on the lawn And a moon and a child lookmg out from the house Across the way, watchmg the figure behmd the glass, The white panes across his back, his hands reachmg For the partmg m the curtams When I entered the room the hght spread fmt In a rectangle straight across the floor to his feet, His toes squeezmg under m a cnppled kmd of gnppmg Someone watchmg from the end of the hall behmd me Would have seen my body framed m the hght of the doorway And beyond me the wall of the drapes Understand the particular axis at which he stood In the visiOn of each different beholder, the multiple Coordmates of hour and posltlon and place comodmg Wtth the gnds of hght and sound and precedmg 51 Interpretations.