Maureen Thorson

Much of my work has to do with situating myself (oneself) in a narrative. In some poems, this is explicitly my own narrative, autobiographical to the extreme. In other work, I try to create, in Rosmarie Waldrop's words, "a world, . . . not better, but other" in which a narrative is created from scratch, drawing on the world around me, but not re-drawing it.

How do we really link events outside ourselves to what we see to what we think and feel? I'm not the same person that I was at fourteen, or twenty-four, or a week ago. I write to investigate the way the mind changes, how it alters its own text. If "I" am "myself," I'd like to know how I know.

I treat poetry as a neurological experiment, one in which I am both subject and scientist, subject and object. I am interested in how I – in how we – make sense of the world, and of ourselves.. Humans spend a lot of time reliving the world, retelling their stories to themselves and to each other. Everybody's an editor.

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Meditation at Five Thirty

by Maureen Thorson


Riding our bikes toward
The Grub & Grog for nickel
Candy, we heard it first
From the bigger enlisted
Boys: someone got stabbed
At the sports bar last night,
And now the parking lot
Boasts a thick chalk outline.
And there it is, lines wobbling
With the rocks in the tarmac,
One arm outflung. Soon the boys
Dare each other to ride by it,
Then over it, bike wheels
Criss-crossing the point of
No return for someone we
Don't know, but have a
Pretty clear picture of:
Short, dark hair and his ship's
Ballcap, blue bellbottoms,
Sportswatch. The boys are
Spitting in the outline now, saliva
Greased by lollipops, pooling
Red and purple on the pavement.
I squint a little into the sun, and
Think: someone drove his car
Into the power substation last
Month and died that way; there's
Supposed to be an alligator in the lake
By enlisted housing, the Morrisons'

Dog alerted them to a rattlesnake
Wrapped around their Dodge's
Tailpipe, Portuguese men-of-war
Patrol our shores, tentacles
Dangling and the red light of sunset
Mingles now with the constant
Pointed finger of Mayport Light,
Tracing a pinkish, dusty halo above
The base, a warning spelling danger.
Danger? You're soaking in it.
And it's almost time to eat.

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