Archive for October 14th, 2020

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Begin Here by Marvin Hartley Bell

How is a shirt like death,
before dawn, losing the blackness,
already the spit echoing hoarsely
in the throat, tranquility before
sledgehammers, up this early before
anyone to pick pants and shirt?

Is this the shirt you will die in?
Then a shirt is like death, and changes
life. Or is this a shirt you will
advance in, a handsome appearance
for a feeling like lugging stones?
The skin, too, is a pressed shirt,

worn by the roads snarling inside.
A blue road wears a blue cover,
or so it seems; as a red road, red.
To lose your shirt is to lose your
life, a gamble the hooded heart takes
because you are buttoned up in front.

From: Bell, Marvin, “Begin Here” in The American Poetry Review, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Nov.-Dec. 1972), p. 47.

Date: 1972

By: Marvin Hartley Bell (1937- )