The heart’s meaning – Poem

The heart’s meaning

“Mr. Tools, for a while the only person in the world walking around with an artificial heart, said the weirdest thing was being without a heartbeat… No one else could say, I know how you feel” -Claudia Rankine


Every poem needs a diagram. Sometimes

my students disagree about the meaning

of a poem, they cite Derrida, and I think

I’ve done well by them.


But in the same way I sit on IKEA

texts, second person plotless pages

there is a beginning, middle and end,

this is true for all texts. We deny


the experience of reading, because

the mind holds up mirrors. We

look again and again. My godmother

works as a display manager for


West Coast Target stores, and one man

in the Dublin store always gets excited

to see her. He is autistic and highly capable

And every other monday – he knows her schedule


to the minute, he runs up to her, grabs her

shoulders and shouts her name over and over.

To dissuade himself of that beginning middle and

end. He is OCD, not like the kids say it.


In our minds, we have to find new ways

to say the same things. *Make it new!* Stevens

shouted. And the novelty is so thick here

I wonder about overconsumption


of ideas. I know how you feel – I say this

before I know how I feel. But I wondered only

in the poem with the diagram, how did his flesh

stretch happily over the motor? How


did his body agree, yes, we’ll let this stand

for an ongoing instance (instant) of life

now, now, now? The body can’t veto

a heart not it’s own, the courage would be electric.


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