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J.D. Smith


Another Westerner after Li Po

Far away is the husband or wife, the friend
whose new poems have just arrived.
But distance is only one
of the ten thousand things.
If this letter does not fall
from a slow boat into a river
or slip from a horseman’s pouch
and land on toy fans of gingko leaf,
these brushstrokes will take my place
to tell you it is good to be
drunk on wine, plum or grape, and singing
in a simple hut across the country
from the Emperor (read “President”).
Yet this region’s birds
do not take up the song.
I wait to hear your voice.
For the moment, alone,
I invoke the moon.



J.D. Smith has two books forthcoming in 2012: his third poetry collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, and his first humor collection, Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth. His essay collection Dowsing and Science was published in 2011.
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