I picked up the captain asks for a show of hands by Nick Flynn randomly at Book Soup in Los Angeles yesterday and read it in one sitting. The construction of the book is spare & page-turning – but takes you places and asks to be read all the way through. This first poem “haiku (failed)” has been on my mind in particular, in that right-poem-at-the-right-time kind of way– I have a section of my manuscript called Prank Calls from Fish that is in deep revisions and Flynn’s “haiku (failed)” is set up to suggest a strained telephone communication — ” hello? / damn phone” and concerns itself with the “The thin thread that holds us here, tethered…” A beautiful broad sentiment that follows the reader throughout, including the final section of poems comprised from the testimony of seven Abu Ghraib detainees.
by Nick Flynn
The thin thread that holds us here, tethered/ or maybe tied, together,
what/do you call it–telephone? horizon? song? Listen/to yourself
sing, We are all god’s children / we are all gods, we walk the earth /
sometimes, two sails inside us sometimes/ beating, our bodies the
bottle, a ship inside each /until one day, for no reason, it sails —
hello?/ damn phone– until one day it sails / out of sight, until one
day it cuts out of /earshot, bye-bye muttered into your cupped palm,
bye-bye/ boat, bye-bye rain— Look/ maybe this is the place we’ve been/
waiting for, maybe this place / is the day, inside us, inside each/
corpuscle, the day, that day, everyday is / inside, my body, your body,
everyday is / this thread, everyday you said, come / get me, everyday
you said, it’s been way too long / you said, bye-bye, bye-bye, not a day/
went by, the thin, the thread, so thin, this thread, are you still / here,
is it still, your heart, is it well, well, welling?