Poem of the Week | November 29, 2011

This week we’re proud to follow-up a Turkey-week hiatus with a previously unpublished poem by David Roderick. Roderick’s first book, Blue Colonial, won the APR/Honickman Prize.  Recently his poems have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Southern Review, Cave Wall, and Shenandoah.  In 2007 he was awarded the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship.  He currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Author’s Note:

“Self-Portrait as David Bowie” comes from a group of hybridized self-portrait/persona poems I’ve been working on.  All the poems in the sequence feature famous Davids.  I kept the ones approaching an emotional resonance that feels truthful and autobiographical, but most of them turned into spectacular failures, including my attempts at channeling David Byrne, David Letterman and, sadly, David Hasselhoff.  I think I did okay with Hockney, Lynch, and Bowie.  Hopefully I won’t get sued.

Self-Portrait as David Bowie

For you I turned

into swaddle-boy, stud cad,


and played strings

over a hole that must


fill with sound,

insects remembered in wood.


In the famous myth

a golden dart pierced Apollo.


Like him my hair

is spot-lit, a laurel.


When you ran to the blazing

forest I chased,


like a sequined friend of the fiend.

Then, as strobes froze


our race and you turned

into my trophy, my tree,


a blue crescendo

drummed and ripped the wind.


Now at your sighing roots I wait.

I die every night.


Some, though not I,

call it singing.