Iowa Writes

"Hotel Henri Michaux"

I am wordless, grounded. You are immovable.
It has been a few years.
The wallpaper is the same
I remember now,
No one stays long.
The girl brings something purple to wear,
I don't want it; but why not, when I am alone like this?
I don't want it
She kisses each nipple and holds a
19th century hat she wants me to wear in the bath:
Peaches in cream
Chocolate mousse
An orange.
There's nothing to read
The rooms have only a toilet and bed
The paper I'm writing on has a watermark
That says: Stability Bond.
You turn in your sleep;
Baby mouth,
                          Baby legs
Turn it off.
Fish-blade, the lamp,
A vertebrate structure like mine.
I remember. A shot, yes
To think things over. Who are you, anyway?
They cut us open.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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About the poem: "Hotel Henri Michaux" was originally published in The Iowa Review, volume 5, issue 1 (Winter, 1974). Like everything published in the magazine from its founding in 1970 through 2009, it can be found online, for free, at The Iowa Review's digital archive.

This page was first displayed
on May 17, 2013

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