lines i told myself i couldn't find
November 11, 2010 5:57 PM   Subscribe

I'd love to find the text of a poem online, but my google-fu fails me

I've been searching this evening in all the usual places for the text of a poem by Paul Mariani entitled "Lines I Told Myself I Wouldn't Write" but so far the ol' Internets keeps stealin' my bait. Tried Google, natch (web search, book search). And Poetry Foundation dot org. Tried searching the author. Tried searching the title. Tried searching the first line "Nebuchadnezzar/von Hoffman the Great/" Even tried to find it in the old anthology where I first read it.

Willing to admit it might not be able to be found online (but, really, is such a thing possible in these modern times?). Just want to make sure I've covered my bases.

Are there other online poetry search resources I'm missing?
posted by RockyChrysler to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
here's his email address, you could ask him yourself
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:45 PM on November 11, 2010

Or hit him up on Facebook. At the very least, ask him which of his books contained that poem.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:37 PM on November 11, 2010

And if you do contact him thanks to this AskMe, also please follow up and let us know what happens? Because: cool.
posted by pineapple at 8:23 PM on November 11, 2010

Best answer: From Literature Online (accessible only if you have a magical university library hookup):

1 Nebuchadnezzar, von Hoffman the Great, then
2 Big Sur and Paterson. Instead: since it was
3 really my kid's dog, we settled for Sparky.
4 Better than Killer, I guess, better than

5 White Fang. An onomastic gesture if ever
6 there was one, more in line with the Ford
7 pickups sloped to the sides before the town's
8 one beerstop. And what with Argentine

9 conscripts freezing in Darwin and Her Majesty's
10 soldiers leapfrogging the Falklands
11 out of San Carlo, the Belgrano gone
12 and the Sheffield a grave, I promised

13 myself I wouldn't get soft over one fleabag
14 arthritic half gone in the head when he didn't
15 come home. Springtime, we figured, and the old
16 prunewrinkled groinbag out after women

17 over in Leverett or up by the lake. But as day
18 followed day, then a week, then a month,
19 and his cracked greasy bowl got sacked first
20 by a tom then by two cranky jays ...

21 There were three nights in there when my wife
22 kept waking me up, listening for Sparky with each
23 shift in the wind, the way I remember her doing
24 night after night whenever one of the babies

25 got stuck in his breathing. I know I said
26 I wouldn't go weepy when it came, and I haven't.
27 At least not that much. Besides, half the neighbors
28 must be doing a two-step, and the kid who delivers

29 the papers and used to fling them into the bushes
30 whenever he heard Sparky can breathe easier now.
31 And last week a friend put the whole thing
32 in its proper perspective, reminding me how in Taiwan

33 and places like that they serve them as delicacies.
34 So it's over and done with: the backyard service,
35 the young dogwood planted.... Except for this dream,
36 where an old dog, battered and nettle-flecked, limps

37 down to the Sawmill. Across its wide waters he sniffs
38 till he sees us. And though at first he shudders,
39 he knows he must plunge into that river. When he springs
40 forth his red coat will glisten. His tail whacks

41 back and forth, back and forth. As in an Aztec
42 mound painting caught in the flickering gleam
43 of the torch, the eyes shift, blend into one.
44 The lips have curled up. The bright eye shines.

Copyright © 1990 by Paul Mariani.
posted by oohisay at 9:03 PM on November 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: awesome! love ya, askme (especially you, oohisay!).
posted by RockyChrysler at 5:11 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

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