Half a decade ago Maggie and I lived in the same city and had the same friends, but we never met until I moved to Austin. When we first started to hang out, we would trade poetry. I was moved by her ability to freely perform her work, as well as her confidence in it. It’s been about a year since we met and I am still amazed at her seeming ease and consistent talent. It was important to me to be able to feature her here because I think good work deserves the light of day. I also think an audience deserves good work. Most things that can be known about an artist can be found in his or her own work. The life of an author can provide a backdrop, but it shouldn’t be the substance around which their work wraps itself, like a ribcage on the outside of a torso. The life dictates the work, but the work is what we attend to, because the work is what is important. Everyone has a life, but only Maggie can write like Maggie. Enjoy.
Dialogue with an Ex
Tell me, he says, about one time
you’ve been drunk. He doesn’t say,
I dare you. He doesn’t say, don’t lie.
He doesn’t say, how much do you think
you’ve really changed? I set my jaw
against the blows. In Paris, once,
I say. A filmmaker’s apartment.
Across the too-small table I see
the gears are turning.
I don’t say, After you, of course.
I say that it was March. Post-
theatre, back through the cool night
to his cold room. I say he showed me
cyanotypes, the remains of flowers,
pictures from Munich I’d already seen.
I say he brought out the Kentucky bourbon, that
his sinewy frame had got a taste for it, but I,
tiny I, sputtered as his flatmate laughed.
I tell how the door to the dimly lit bathroom
was slanted when I got there, how
the cold water sizzled on my chapped cheeks.
I do not say, I would have slept on the floor
but he did not have blankets enough. I do not say,
The next morning he talked to me
like a stranger. I say
he left me at the station,
an angel in the rain, beneath the 5am silence
of Haussmann’s creation.
I say it was just breathtaking.
There are trees you pass by everyday
And never notice
Until the blossoms come