Transcendental

By 6 a.m., I have already walked the dog, emptied
the washing machine, and considered breakfast
Carefully over a gallon or two of coffee. This is why
old white men like me have no business whatsoever
Writing memoirs. Emerson was all about self-
reliance, but never scribbled a word about the laundry.
Did Emerson do underwear? Who cares? Transcendence
is transcendence, in the end, but nothing is universal
Except the universe. How many humans know what
the latest space probe found in the rings of Saturn, much less
How long a piece of thread the Fates have trimmed to embroider
a monogram on the pocket of my shirt? My shirt, buddy,
One more vanity, one more possession with my initials on it
that has to be cast in the washer, given over to that supreme
Agitation, spun in the vortex, whipped, and cleansed.

T.R. Hummer

T.R. Hummer

T. R. Hummer’s most recent books of poetry are After the Afterlife (Acre Books) and the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon (LSU Press). Former editor in chief of The Kenyon Review, of The New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Poetry, the Richard Wright Award for Artistic Excellence, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Award in Poetry. He lives in Cold Spring, New York.
T.R. Hummer

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Author: T.R. Hummer

T. R. Hummer’s most recent books of poetry are After the Afterlife (Acre Books) and the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon (LSU Press). Former editor in chief of The Kenyon Review, of The New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Poetry, the Richard Wright Award for Artistic Excellence, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Award in Poetry. He lives in Cold Spring, New York.