October 31, 2013

FIELD WORK: C. S. Giscombe

On the occasion of Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field, SFMOMA curator of public programs Frank Smigiel and poet and playwright Kevin Killian co-organized a small chapbook of poetry, beautifully hand-produced by Andrew Kenower and Lara Durback. We are posting selections from FIELD WORK on Open Space throughout the fall.

Iowa House, Summer 2013


Put up in Iowa City and up from having dreamt

of being very high—in the air—over Seattle, as though

I were dead and looking down but seeing only King Street station and,

nearby, the sprawl of Safeco Field where the Mariners play and where, in

memory, looms the figure (though not in the dream) in lights of “a Negro repeatedly

swinging a baseball bat,” though the dream had to do

with its own teetering height over two landmarks, that riddle, and

not Elliott Bay or wide Puget Sound (no water

in the dream) or even fabulous Alaska Way from which

the ferries depart: instead—the spire on King Street, practically an awl beneath me,

and the graduations of the baseball field.

Who has not been, who—among

you—could not have been, in some sense, “on

trail”?  Proximate, part of a similarly imperfect triangle?  (The two

of them—stadium, train station—meaning

something different from one another; no water to

the dream, and no bridge either.)

At the foot of the Iowa House though was a river

and bridges and—also in memory—the fact

of my father “summering” in Iowa City in 1942 or 1943, of his

having met then both Jewish guys and white guys, he told me sixty

years later, at the university.

(For a time, toward the tail end

of the twentieth century, I lived in Seattle

“above” Ravenna Park, and can remember that city,

easily, because of that.)



After reading di Suvero’s Dreambook, July 2013.

C. S. Giscombe’s poetry books are Prairie Style, Giscome Road, Here, etc.; his prose book is Into and Out of Dislocation. His recognitions include the 2010 Stephen Henderson Award, an American Book Award (for Prairie Style), and the Carl Sandburg Prize (for Giscome Road). He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a long-distance cyclist.

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