In conjunction with The Poetry Coalition’s March 2019 joint programming exploring the theme “What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy,” The Common presents four weekly features this month, each addressing and extending this national—and international—conversation.
This month we welcome back one of the most crucial and distinctive Anglophone poets, Lawrence Joseph, whose sixth collection, So Where Are We?, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in August. “In One Day’s Annals” appears in this book, as does “In That City, in Those Circles,” first published in issue #10 of The Common. Joseph is also the author of two books of prose, the genre-defying Lawyerland (FSG), as well as The Game Changed: Essays and Other Prose, from the University of Michigan Press’s Poets on Poetry Series, which presents Joseph’s estimable talents as an essayist and critic.
In that time, in that place, a few cars, a bus, on Belle Isle
seen from this side of the river, dark blue icy river,
on the other side of the Belle Isle Bridge Uniroyal Tire’s
bright silver smoke blown over the river to Canada,
time-bound, space-bound, a distinctive industrial space,
Ford Motor Company Dumping Station, the O-So Soda Pop
warehouse, Peerless Cement, railroad tracks on
the bridge to Zug Island—the smell from Wayne
Soap enough to make you puke—Ideal Bar, icon,
Black Madonna, blood-red slash down her right cheek,