Alice B. Fogel

Because I still cannot access my remote computer after weeks of IT work, because my face is still recovering from an OD of dentist-induced Novocaine yesterday that left me swollen and paralyzed and out of the office, because I’ve once again been told that You’re the best thing since sliced bread, but I actually want a bagel (and there’s no toaster in my new life), because Venus is retrograde till 18 November, because at my day job it’s not Ok to have 15 years of editing experience and edit from the gut of knowledge but rather one should talk oneself out of any instinct and instead rely on hard-copy handouts of chosen rule, because tonight is the new moon created for new beginnings, because I hereby banish all these patterns of shite and give you my favorite poem in the universe.

I came upon it in 1993, this perfectly sized, perfectly papered printer’s galley that was discarded with a bunch of other proofs in a cardboard box in the English Department. The chapbook is titled Elemental, by Alice B. Fogel, Zoland Books. Every time I read it it’s like reading it for the first time, the same chills, the same Yes.

“The Self, Falling”

That one could be so small, slipping

through its own self, as silt shifts

down through its rock bed….

What happens when we wish

is something unforeseen

and other. That we are drawn

to windows and other openings,

that the threshold is as fragile

as desire. This falling

is a bedtime fable, of finding

bottom, false promise of final

softness there. The rest,

silence. But what is worse

than going on is the ending,

that once there the darkness

silvers the glass to mirror

and the eyes too are open,

horribly. What is that shape

that forms its compulsive shadows

through which it is impossible not, again,

to fall? And still the wishful self

has its own ideas.

That one could be so small

and yet unable to rise, that laws

here are still binding, the legacy

of an ancient alchemy. All that rises

is the voice at the end

of its question, for nothing

weighs more than the falling.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Wow. I am at work, with nothing to do, and googled myself. (I know, it’s tacky.) And I found this 2 1/2-year-old blog post about this poem from my first book. Do you want a real copy of Elemental, with its beautiful watercolor cover? It’s OP but I have a lot of copies, and if you’re still out there, and you get this, I could send it to you. I also have several other books since then. Thanks for making my day.

    • 2

      Hello! I am very much in awe to receive a comment from the very author of my favorite poem!! And I can’t believe it’s been that long since I wrote that entry (apparently I was having a frustrating day). I would absolutely love a real copy of Elemental, and would love to hear about your other books/what you’re working on. I’m going to e-mail you my address. Thanks again, truly.


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