NEA Literature Fellowships

Noelle Kocot

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(2001 - Poetry)

Love Poem on the Anniversary of Nowhere

The ground is failing in my memory.
This shade is deafening. A false story
Welds me to a space where I neither
Wash my hair, nor fold my clothes,

Nor speak, nor even breathe, and I ask myself,
What favor can you do for me
That you have not already done? For instance,
When I wrote my name in the datebooks of angels

And I did not care whether they were fallen,
You didn't say a word.
But I heard your crystal clanging
From afar and I knew you'd finally come

To doubt the bodiless fire of marvelous dark
Fading softly into nearest stars above us. You wept.
The leaves fell one, two, three, infinity,
And you, my stalled train bound for eternity,

Remain sunk into the burning snow that caps the evil
River pumping my heart across the empty edge of space,
Where an intermezzo sleep of shadows writhes
Lightly on the throbbing, failing ground.

Real Audio "Love Poem on the Anniversary of Nowhere" read by the author

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, received a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from University of Florida's Creative Writing Program. I have published in many journals, including The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Fence, Conduit, LUNGFULL! and the American Poetry Review, from which I received the annual S.J. Marks Prize for 1997. My first collection of poetry, 4, received the Levis Prize from Four Way Books and will be published in May 2001. I also have a poem forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2001. I live with my husband, composer Damon Tomblin, in Brooklyn.

Author's Statement

The NEA grant has freed me up to do things that I want to do that I wasn't able to do before. Now I can take the little trips that inspire my writing without worrying about money, I can dye my hair, whatever. I used to worry about money so much. Now, just having some takes a load off of my mind and gives me more room to write. I am very grateful for this prize.