Advice


Tyler Carter

Liz told me to be careful of assumptions. That
you know what I know, while I
often enough don’t know, and assume

the same: we are lost
but at least we’re together. CD
chided this loyalty, a tendency

based not in work, but in
gratitude: the fact of Gale being in his office
everyday. The fact of

Hello. Meanwhile, Forrest
announces “something inside of me is broken”
and leaves

us, unsure if we should clap. Robert Creeley

            Terrific sense bit a young man. He walked around the innings all
            afternoon until the crisis seemed to open up. At odds, and you know it
            hasn’t always been so.

*

            You know to walk in the woods, you can understand. There’s us at the
            gate and perception conjoins, and intelligence. Why can’t it just
            disappear?

*

            One can’t do both—create these things and mean what we say.
            Reconfiguration? No, already out there. We were responsible.

or more so, I helped Liz move
when the Iowa winter burst
her pipes. I painted

Brecht’s bedroom. My father insisted I be
myself, not to worry
what others do. My mother

told me about her summer at Dartmouth,
the press of sororities
and gave advice: if you don’t like

where you are, leave. “You don’t have to
follow him,” Susan told me
on the edge of my father’s bed.

I asked Professor Peterson
if there were limits
to sociology. He drew a grid.

From then on I wrote poetry.
More accurately
I don’t know what else

to do. Poetry as an escape
from making decisions
about How to live. What to do.

Wallace Stevens. An insurance executive.
Dr. William Carlos Williams .
George Oppen

organized unions, and disappeared. He shunned
his family, his fate. Most
of the writers I know

are in school one way
or another
unlike Erika, or Adam, who made it out

on the farm, or bookstore
respectively. I look for an authority
and find none. I look

to my notes, to books
to people
in hopes for instruction: A slender neck

is a sign that one
has never been in love. A long hair
on the left eyebrow

is a symbol of long life. That an attempt
to save a drowning man
is to offer oneself as substitute.