What I Share With You (Murray Shugars)

March 22, 2010

Last night, I caught my last hour in Iraq.
I wrapped it in a black burka
and stuffed it in my rucksack,
next to a copy of A Farewell to Arms.

When I get home, I’ll go in the kitchen
and place that beating hour on a cutting board,
put an edge on my cook’s knife,
and slice that bleeding hour in two.

I’ll grill the halves with olive oil,
red skin potatoes, Michigan asparagus, and a pinch of salt.

We’ll share a bottle of valpolicella on the patio.


My friend Murray has been rounding out his last days in Iraq. I aim to go see him in Vicksburg this summer, hear him give a reading, and share a bottle of something expensive. I’m crazy about his recent work, which I’ve found not only to cut close to the bone of my own experience, but to resist classification. His lines are unselfconscious. They speak their mind without apology. They do not look back, not even to wink. If a door is said to close with a poem’s ending, it fails to latch. There’s no click, just the screen door’s crack on its frame, and a boy’s shadow disappearing in the woods, and the wind rocking the hinges.

He’s kept a blog during his tour where he posts poems, photos, drawings, and other miscellany. See http://murrayshugars.blogspot.com/.


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