Reagan Upshaw

Hay Fever

Here I sit, eyes overflowing, ears clogged,
nose bursting like a dam when I bend over,
reminding my self that Goethe composed while seasick
and while playing the lover.

Amour and mal de mer, puissant conditions
that overwhelm our everyday defenses
(which might assist a poet – see Rimbaud's
derangement of all senses)

have settings on Verona balconies
in moonlight or on rocking, wave-washed decks
which lend exotic gloss to unromantic
physical facts.

Hay fever, on the other hand, stays home,
confronts its pained reflection clutching a bottle
of antihistamines. Its abject woes
are never fatal.

Here I sit, working with what I have.
Peevish self-hatred shoves aside self-pity,
sneering “Goethe?  Rimbaud?  You poetic
Walter Mitty!”

Begone, self-hatred. Take self-pity with you.
Hay fever, leave me for another year.
And you, clownish, toad-eating alter-ego,

Let pen scratch, fingers drum, let all the work
of literary harvestide begin,
so that the fruit of this September night
be gathered in.

                First published in Atlanta Review.

Then and Now

The thicket of adjectives
thins like your hair.
Like your face, poems
settle into simpler, deepening lines.

                First published in White Walls

About the Author

Reagan Upshaw's poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Sun & Moon, Hanging Loose, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Chronogram, Transfer, White Walls, and other little magazines.

His articles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Boston Review, On the Bus, Poets & Writers, South Florida Poetry Review, Multicultural Review, Art in America, and New Art Examiner. He regularly reviews books for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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