Michael Tod Edgerton


what most vividly (why don't you listen)


From what or where or whom do you come?

From Carolyn Lee
From Mary Lee (d. 1945 of tuberculosis) and Marion Owen
From Daniel and Kitty, from Mary Irena and Mason Owen (dead after a box fell
a boxcar overturned and he fell
into alcoholism and abuse)

8:26am Thursday, November 8, 1973, Emory University Hospital, Atlanta

From Charles Frank
From Henry Frank ("HF"), who killed himself, and Sarah Begeman
From Dee Edward and Nellie (née Yankee, who died of diabetes
when HF was eight) and from Joseph Andrew and Mary Lucy

Sunday 20th February 1949 5:45 a.m.

St. Thomas's Hospital in South London, Vauxhall
Where I was fitted out with conscience

12:20 pm in the UK Medical Center, Lexington, on the threshold
              shifting into
at birth fitted out
with consciousness


What dream do you remember most vividly and what message does it bear?

Walking around downtown pregnant people
coming up to me smiling people I know coming up touching
the baby through my belly. The sun is warm. 


Why don't you listen to what the universe or your mind or your body or your god whispers ever more closely to you?

The whispers they whisper differently
no unity          all those voices. Sometimes
the whispers

My baby in my screaming my baby in my other my ear.

Maybe the conflict is actual
actually what I should think
                                          should be
thinking about.

Maybe I should be
paying attention
                                          I assumed they were
telling me
tell me what to do.

Maybe they're just giving me
                                        give me
maybe they're just information. It's everywhere.

What to do. Maybe I don't like being told what to do
even gently.

I think about should a lot.

Why do you
you assume
I don't?


If you could, what gift that is impossible for you to give would you give to whom and why?

My beloved my beloved
I would give my beloved sense a sense
an indelible sense that he exists and deserves
to exist and has the power
to make things make changes.
nothing would be able to take this sense away. I would give him
I would give this he doesn't he does not have it.


Describe a person you love. How would you know them without their face?

Her voice anywhere          anywhere
her smell.  I would know her from her language and her laugh
her laugh and her way the way her brain works.

I love my mother. Her voice.

I would know her voice, the fast tumble of words. Even without
words discernible words I'd know her habit of little burrs
between sentences, mmms and errrs, tiny motors idling.

The ticklish bleat of his laugh? His radiant temperature? His lanky pranksterisms?

Did I mention she's funny?


How did you first know you were in love and what makes you unsure of it?

Amazing sex. Sex    
is a funny thing. On and off like a lightswitch. 

Off On Off On     On On.

One night of good sex and nothing else matters.

What besides love do you doubt and what makes you doubt it?

I don't doubt it.

I doubt everything—I'm Catholic.


How did you first know you were in love?

I knew when I knew
a big fight
a big fight was coming
it came I decided not to
be afraid, to engage
I engaged with her in a fair fight, a loud
disagreement. I'm not good
at fights. But I'm starting to
value them.

He felt like a place I could pad around in bare feet in.
(Although sometimes I feel most
feel most honest when I am
I am utterly alone.)

And what makes you unsure of it?

No doubts but love
grows changes love
                               over time. There are none
no guarantees.

I was never unsure
of the love I felt. Our correspondence
to one another, atom to atom each atom
of our bodies, each of us stubborn, each of us independent,
each a fighter (she a better fighter than I). 

There were times
I was unsure unsure of her of her love
for me, but of my love for her          never.  

That certainty can make me restless.


How do you know?

I know him I know him his body the very image of him I know I want him his way the way his body the very image behind my lids it pulls at mine this way inside my body from inside my body his presence the very image of his absence pulls it almost through me elsewhere wherever he is he is not here now the very image only the image of him. Not here, and maybe not sniffing the air for me nearby, maybe perfectly anchored to the space of his body his body inhabits. I will not let fear anchor me in mine, even if indifference bars me, comes to pass his indifference bares me of his.


In what way have you betrayed or disappointed yourself or others?

Sins of omission.


If you could, what gift that is impossible for you to give would you offer and to whom? Why this specific gift to this specific person or persons?

The will to live to anyone who      
anyone          I have seen

the wake      

the grief

it leaves.


In what way have you been betrayed or disappointed?

On the losing side the side of compromise too
too many times.


In what way have you betrayed or disappointed yourself or others?

Tourists tourists disappoint me I disappoint myself as a tourist.


What dream most vividly?

An ice cream truck
passes my house,
the cat asleep so I tell you (who are you
here in my dream)—an ice cream truck—
the very imageof the hap-
                                      hazard if not
                                                         drunken arrival of joy into our lives.
But it went by too fast to catch.

Is this the very image
of my life? I hear myself wonder. Then see myself
at eight, poor little Johnny Doe,
a dollar from his mom's purse flapping in his hand,
running after the ice cream truck as it turns the corner and
proceeds up the hill, ringalinging Beethoven all the way and
fading out.

Then I remember the Extra Dreamy
Mint Chocolate Chip in the freezer and all,
for the moment,
is well, as the cold
from the cream
slides down my throat,
and the cool of the mint
radiates in my mouth,
and the buttery dark-sweet chocolate bits almost
melt me almost
entirely away


In what way have you betrayed or disappointed yourself or others?

I have probably disappointed everyone who has ever known me. 


In what way have you been betrayed or disappointed?

I don't want to be an appointer of things, but most things disappoint me.


In what way have you betrayed or disappointed yourself or others?

Oh, Christ, Tod.  You've met people, right?