Stephen Motika is the editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman (2009) and the author of the poetry chapbooks Arrival and At Mono (2007) and In the Madrones (2011). His first book, Western Practice, is forthcoming from Alice James Books next year. Recent work has appeared in The Brooklyn Review, Eleven Eleven, The Boog City Reader 4, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. The Field, his collaboration with visual artist Dianna Frid, was on view at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2003. Motika is the program director at Poets House and publisher of Nightboat Books.

Image credit: courtesy of the artist


Excerpts from “night, in the oaks”

early hour, resistant to time, an arrival. people out of rooms and gathered, four now, to eat. with florist at table, a dining out & bowl of dahlias.

expect to be nervous in the beginning.

underground, underwater.

I meant to burrow under it and sleep.

crepes for dinner and drinks with thirsty boy, intern and radical, poet and usurper, intake, of knowing much more than I do, all these relevant things.

he returned to his friend & together they started to race up the hill.

later, we lay sleepless, knowing, to pick up and put the desire and excitement down, that a book on about Florentine history might be the only thing, to rest it all for a bit.

to account for the origin of that marvel resulted in myths.

gray awareness, bay, city, and bridge, reaching like twine. feed the fowl, the tortoise, a slipping away to hiding cat.

to be living with nature.

the rest of rest, riding back, the heavy lidded quiet, in the rush of tunnel, of movement, of distinct locations passing as platforms.

the scene was in the center of the road; I left it & sat on the curb.

the currying of fruit picked from trees, passion fruit vines spilling through the window.

the words of our mouths.

to lie by heavy apples, horses grazing and pears in mouth. artichoke, rosemary in rows, quiet fields with the final fading. earth, green of summer, dust dry, bone dry, yellowed grass, pipe quiet.

the farm possibly unusual.

treasure of exhaustion; recounted the sadness of the fathers and of the men, of being lost in the ether there.

if you dream you’re dressed, you see a picture.

rain came, a heavy blinding rain. water rushed off roofs, splattered down gutters and into streets. wet feet and pants.

I who come from the clear font.