Nick Flynn

(1960 - / Boston / United States)

Alan Dugan Telling Me I Have A Problem With Time


He reads my latest attempt at a poem
and is silent for a long time, until it feels
like that night we waited for Apollo,
my mother wandering in and out of her bedroom, asking,
Haven't they landed yet? At last
Dugan throws it on the table and says,
This reads like a cheap detective novel
and I've got nothing to say about it. It sits,
naked and white, with everyone's eyes
running over it. The week before
he'd said I had a problem with time,
that in my poems everything
kept happening at once. In 1969,
the voice of Mission Control
told a man named Buzz
that there was a bunch of guys turning blue
down here on Earth, and now I can understand
it was with anticipation, not sickness. Next,
Dugan says, Let's move on. The attempted poem
was about butterflies and my recurring desire
to return to a place I've never been.
It was inspired by reading this
in a National Geographic: monarchs
stream northward from winter roosts in Mexico,
laying their eggs atop milkweed
to foster new generations along the way.
With the old monarchs gone (I took this line as the title)
and all ties to the past ostensibly cut
the unimaginable happens--butterflies
that have never been to that plateau in Mexico
roost there the next winter. . . .I saw this
as a metaphor for a childhood I never had,
until Dugan pointed out
that metaphor has been dead for a hundred years.
A woman, new to the workshop, leans
behind his back and whispers, I like it,
but the silence is seamless, as deep
as outer space. That night in 1969
I could turn my head from the television and see
the moon
filling the one pane over the bed completely
as we waited for Neil Armstrong
to leave his footprints all over it.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Form:


Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: metaphor, television, poem, winter, childhood, running, silence, woman, moon, mother, night, time, butterfly, women

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Alan Dugan Telling Me I Have A Problem With Time by Nick Flynn )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  2. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  3. I Dream A World, Langston Hughes
  4. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  5. Mother to Son, Langston Hughes
  6. April Rain Song, Langston Hughes
  7. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  8. I, Too, Langston Hughes
  9. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  10. Life Is Fine, Langston Hughes

Poem of the Day

THE CHANCELLOR mused as he nibbled his pen
(Sure no Minister ever looked wiser),
And said, “I can summon a million of men
To fight for their country and Kaiser;

...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Darkness, yvonne stine
  2. Knocking at your door, yvonne stine
  3. Noisy -Noisy Frog, Aftab Alam
  4. Prince and Saviour, yvonne stine
  5. يا قمرنا يا مليح, Abdullah alHemaidy
  6. God is faithful & True, yvonne stine
  7. My name, Nassy Fesharaki
  8. Author of space and time, yvonne stine
  9. I Couldn't Hold On Your Hands!, Geetha Jayakumar
  10. An Apple Of Love!, Geetha Jayakumar
[Hata Bildir]