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Mark Halliday

Author

Fox Point Health Clinic, 1974

In the waiting room this black woman maybe fifty sits   down right beside me. Whisky breath; pocked face. She looks over my shoulder at my notebook where I've been writing about Bjorn Borg in a poem whose point is that I should never cease striving [...]

Fine World

I give you the rain-washed streets of a medieval city filled with pious folk on their way to evensong, the bells ringing and the rooks wheeling above the elms that line the cathedral square; the pearly sky with salmon streaks in the west is lit from [...]

Grief

Grief will come very naturally to you, into your living. It's how your life is not a movie, the way right timing and the firm edges of drama will not body forth your grief like a spotlit Lear at center-stage; the way it will come ten minutes or a ye [...]

The Beloved

Summer 2002 | Poetry

I wrote this fine glossy poem about how the true beloved is always ineffable, the one at the palace window when the purple light of storm astounds the forest, the one whose touch is the breeze of April, the one with breasts of pearl swaying urgent [...]

Eleven Months

Summer 2002 | Poetry

So you're back exactly where you sat eleven months ago with the same itchy fatigue around your eyes. The coffee is slightly less good than it was then. The sunlight is as boldly uninstructive. Death of a friend's father this week. Painful inflammat [...]

Playbill

Summer 2002 | Poetry

Here it comes, here it is, already in progress, the drama: the drama in which the two-legged hero goes striding stridingly across the littered town or the blue-carpeted    library toward a cool-hipped honor-bright bell-toned synthesis [...]

Unmet

Woman in last night's dream wearing a pink sweater Her laugh is gentle and original I don't know her unless I knew her 20 years ago Call her Molly or Karen She has a friend named Edgar, he is lanky with eccentric hair, old clothes and bright yellow [...]

Removal Service Request

It is 2:45 a. m. I can't sleep. This apartment is too noisy. It's totally quiet. It's filled with the noise of the past. How does anyone sleep after the age of 35? Things gather in your apartment and they stay, you bring them to the next apartment a [...]

Poetry Friendship on Earth

He thinks I'm pretty good—a lot of the time. . . . But he has reservations. Something about my "looseness," something about "a tang of narcissism" . . . And he is my friend! My trusted friend. I mean he and I go back, we've had 30 or 40 lu [...]

About Time

About time I will in 1998 say things inadequate under a compulsion to face my enemy, to look my destroyer in the eye—time will evade whatever I say by the sly simple strategy of never stopping. It was in 1992 that I wrote these lines. In my kitche [...]

Threads

Whether or not they moved into a blue clapboard duplex in their mid-thirties, Ted and Tina— clapboard?—bringing three bicycles and the case of Bordeaux given them years before by Uncle James who said as if he knew what was to come "This will refi [...]

Vegetable Wisdom

You want to tell me how it seemed the day you fell in love at the Blue Parrot and the night in Washington Square when you felt a weird hitherto undescribed floating absence of love and how much it hurt that day on Waterman Street across from Faunce H [...]

My Plan

Here is my plan. Of me for me. It has eight points. How life (mine) will get better and be good. And have a clearness; like sharp light of a sunny autumn day. Step by step, point by point, here it is. 1. Read a novel by Kundera. From it get some pers [...]

Personal Details

My son Nicholas two years and two months old wearing a purple sweatshirt that once belonged to Hannah  Holby, not quite awake yet from his nap, leaning his head on my shoulder while we listen to Dylan singing "Most of the Time" and I slow-dance arou [...]

Another Man

In the spring night another man is walking past my darling. He is one inch taller than me and he calls out softly Hey there. She looks. In the May night with the trees blossoming the eyes of the unknown man meet the eyes of my darling. She feels a sa [...]