Then I was the remnant of a tale (for Carver)

It is a nothing day, a gray day,
a throwaway day and I
have disappeared into a crack
in the sofa with all those
forgotten things,
a no-man.

I have dream-drafts to send
me off, sounds of the dryer
and the clock, reminding
tics of all that’s undone,
all that needs cleaned.

I have finished the book,
its pages uneven
and soft: to think, our words
could kill so many trees,
our photo tattooed
on the back. He writes so real
it’s like life, I don’t want it
to end — it needs to be saved.

And when I’m done a small
part of me is gone, another dream
I won’t remember on a nothing
day. The writer breathed his
last words into me and gave
me song: said live while you’ve
got the chance, get up.

Raymond Carver shot from my iPhone

Raymond Carver shot from my iPhone

Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. That hits the feeling of leaving a loved book on the nose. (I tried to avoid a cliche but hitting something on the cheek, or nipple, or shoulder just didn’t get it done.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cliches are always welcome, Jon. Thanks for reading and glad it hit you on the nail or the coffin or “hit home,” as it were. Cheers and pleasant night to you and yours. – Bill


  2. I love that guy’s work. It means a lot to me. I’m a low-level rare book dealer and collector and I have a shelf of signed first editions by him. I hadn’t read any of his stuff for years and I recently picked Cathedral up off the shelf and reread it. His stuff still does it to me. Its impact hasn’t faded a bit. Imagine my relief.


    • I just lent my friend Cathedral (the one I was out with making rock sculptures etc.). My wife and I were shocked and amazed when we walked into the Birdman film and the Carver premise revealed itself, and we had just been talking about him on our V-Day date at a bar prior, and there you go: more Carver. And she had said he reminded her of Chekhov, and in this collection I have by Tess Gallagher, there you go: Chekhov passages amid the Carver. Very neat. Thanks for reading, Mark.


  3. I really need to read more Carver. This is great, though. As Jon said, it could apply to many books. Years, even weeks later, I sometimes remember the feel of books more than their plots, like dreams.


    • I don’t seem to remember plots really but the feel, as you say. It’s so clarifying to read his stories and not feel like there’s any muck attached to them.


  4. All that sense of being stranded between things undone, and that feeling of loss when a book is finished and a powerful connection disconnected; a loss of power – a throwaway day. I know those. I won’t think of them piling up in landfill though 🙂


    • Yes, a friend of mine mailed this book to me and it was just the thing to give me a shot of inspiration and some relief from another book that’s weighing me down. Glad you connected with the sentiment too, Tish — cheers, enjoy the evening. – Bill


  5. You’ve lost your “share” buttons, it looks like. Is that on purpose?


  6. Ah, “I closed the book, and he looked back”. I thought I got it, and here it is in the pic above.

    Liked by 1 person

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