CRAIG MORGAN TEICHER
SELF-PORTRAIT AS NO ONE
I sit in the dark, early night. I like it
because, a child alone, I always felt
most myself when my thoughts were loud
as the breeze, equal to it, possibly
originating from the same place. I like
breezes, rain, both gentle and harsh.
Sitting on a covered porch last summer
during a wild storm, long shards
of water slicing the air, I was thrilled,
enclosed, at home, safe in my body,
which joined the air outside, let it
in, was let out into it. Today,
at the student baseball game, I could hardly
speak, let alone yell or cheer--all those
people, mosquitoes all over my skin,
distinct, invading, separate, their priorities
--happiness, survival--clear and foreign.
How I survived a decade in New York
is now beyond my understanding: it's Hell,
everyone alone but pierced by noise.
I belong in a dark backyard, or by a lake,
or in bed, the cool sheets and pillows
spreading quietly to the invisible horizon.
SELF-PORTRAIT AS THE MAN I’VE BECOME
It's time to say the one last
definitive thing in the long sequence
of last definitive things. I'm not
sober, not drunk. “Buzzed” is what
they'd say I am, who coin
the descriptions of particular states
of intoxication, a club to which
I've never belonged, never will,
drunk though I often am. Today
I was self-medicating, Advil
having done nothing to ease the pain
in my lower back that is as much
a mark of the fact of my adulthood
as my two sleeping children, my wife,
the house in the suburbs we are trying
to buy. One recognizes adulthood
belatedly, once its symptoms
are undeniably exhibiting themselves:
pain where there had been none, peace
where there had been none, responsibility
that had been someone else’s and now
is mine. When did I become so
fastidious? When did I learn
to use spreadsheets? There was no
particular day; it happened in my
thirties, that mostly pleasant path
between youth and whatever’s up next.
Two deer appeared suddenly in our
backyard today; I practically yelled
everyone to the window. They ate
leaves from our rented trees
and soon moved on. Simone
was amazed, Cal smiled. When
did the deer visit our yard?
It was sometime in my thirties.
CRAIG MORGAN TEICHER is the author of three previous books and the forthcoming The Trembling Answers (BOA 2017). He edited Once and For All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz, coming from New Directions in 2016. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and children.
READ AND LISTEN
Issue 7 Playlist