Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Buildings After Five by Bryan Walpert

Buildings After Five

Night falls room by room. Phones lie silent
in their cradles, file cabinets hold the closed

expressions they must keep until dawn, bare
arms of coat rack are raised as if stretched

for sleep. A leaflet flutters from its stack
as vents blow gently, then more gently still,

and dust, the skin of the air, settles
on the tracks of windows, on the bare heads

of lamps – as if rebuilding the world while
we leave ourselves each night as memory

to return changed, to shape the damp earth
with our feet, the cold air with our breaths,

and leave souls to linger, in our absence,
in all that we've touched. The vents exhale.

One chair faces a long night into the wall.
One leans towards the window and suffers the moon.

This poem is from Bryan's book Etymology published by Cinnamon Press.

Bryan was born in America and now lives in Palmerston North in New Zealand where he is a a Senior Lecturer in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey University. And he is the nicest bloke you would meet on a long day's march. A fascinating and generous conversationalist, with an intense commitment to the art of writing, and a fine poet. His book is a delight. I very much liked the lines in Dear Persephone – 'That's motherhood/a doorway that thinks/it is the room.'

He has got a new book out - A History Of Glass.



  1. This is a very good poem--I can see I need to read Eytomology ...

  2. Etymology is very very good indeed. But I didn't know Bryan had another book of poetry out. Incredible. Are they stocking it at Bruce McKenzie's Jen?

  3. Yes, Etymology is quite the winner. Cinnamon Press have some stunning poets - I only discovered the press very recently. Thanks, Jennifer!

  4. i wonder if bruce mckenzie in palmy has a history of glass - i suppose he does - i got no word of the launch though - i must be out of the loop

  5. What a lovely poem, certainly captures some of the anxieties of sleep!