Iowa Writes

JOHN HARPER
The Opposite of Yesterday


Hello—yeah! There are two of me—
used to be more of a spurting of enterprising, hopeful,
men in me, so I sort of have a retrospective
value about it—nowadays, I wonder
about your Iowa Writers' piano
in the upstairs satin-colored room,
and the words of your private songs
edging toward a woman you have loved wisely, I think. The
              sprinkler
is fun to waddle over the yard with,
while pivoting to see which of the drinks
are coming out of the house for your appointments
of being a human in the air and sanctioned patio
remaining truthful like a dog—this time
I am not joking—and the time was feebly a vacation
from the real.

Laughing with you of the world, I kept an eye
on your books stationed behind the glass cupboards.
I felt an elsewhere insidiously tugging
at me from far away; I'd leave
before a gentle depravity I didn't like set in.
I'd go to play squash or watch tv.
I'm sorry for my dismissal of you, your grand array
of intellect to be pardoned by, over and over,
memorizing the albatross reasons why, hey, I am
not ok these days—

Hello—yeah! There are two of me—
used to be more of a spurting of enterprising, hopeful,
men in me, so I sort of have a retrospective
value about it—nowadays, I wonder
about your Iowa Writers' piano
in the upstairs satin-colored room,
and the words of your private songs
edging toward a woman you have loved wisely, I think. The
              sprinkler
is fun to waddle over the yard with,
while pivoting to see which of the drinks
are coming out of the house for your appointments
of being a human in the air and sanctioned patio
remaining truthful like a dog—this time
I am not joking—and the time was feebly a vacation
from the real.

Laughing with you of the world, I kept an eye
on your books stationed behind the glass cupboards.
I felt an elsewhere insidiously tugging
at me from far away; I'd leave
before a gentle depravity I didn't like set in.
I'd go to play squash or watch tv.
I'm sorry for my dismissal of you, your grand array
of intellect to be pardoned by, over and over,
memorizing the albatross reasons why, hey, I am
not ok these days—

I am down to the unknown parting by the river;
and I am down to a couple of me, then—one soft spoken
with pewter wrapping, and in the ranking
the other I am still only partly willing
to welcome in—and you'd still like me, I see this, now—
I was so densely populous, sensuously inappropriate
for both not saying what I wanted and acting like I did—

I couldn't keep a single subject happy; all gashed up,
the motifs wheeled off into darkened winter
which didn't have to be. And I won't lose you anymore.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


JOHN HARPER

John Harper attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop between 1999 and 2001. Several of his poems have been published in Cutbank, Mid-American Poetry Review, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, and The Dickinson Review, amongst other journals.

This page was first displayed
on December 15, 2007

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