because even when you try to stop them,
hold the kaleidoscope and its
whirring fractions still so you can examine them,
the carnival just keeps turning
implacably onwards, of course you canít get outside, jump off
the flashing gyroscope that keeps you alive

except if you try spinning it yourself;
whirl yourself around in place
faster and faster, then slam, stop!
abruptly, in your tracks
out of the corner of your eye sometimes you can see it
behind your back, on the periphery, whatís
always been there but hidden, like the Green Flash
at the edge of the earth, just as the sunís coming up
in the crack between two worlds, the lights
of 14th street just before you get to the station,
the place at the tip of your tongue
where the name youíve forgotten hovers but where, where?

-- and then it arrives at 14th Street,
"Itís George!" you say,
or June, or Judy or John:
how you managed it
you donít know but you do it
all the time; vault the gap between frames
sometimes in a great painting
for instance. of light that sees itself in shadow.
or a piece of music. breathless, the high note
and the lungs that sustain it, follow the surfer up
to the crest of the wave and hold it

unbelievably, just as you suddenly find it
for yourself or perhaps in Shakespeare
or even the Bible, out of all those
figures in your head itís yours
to build on, the one blazing moment
that shocks you, hauls you up
by the bristling neck hairs into charged
dazzling recognitions that live
and never entirely leave you, especially when you say
what you thought youíd forgotten forever : say 14th Street,
say John.
remember the Name.

Copyright 1995, Patricia Goedicke

Patricia Goedickeís poem, "Whirling Dervishes II", will be included in her eleventh book of poetry, Invisible Horses, scheduled for publication by the Milkweed Editions in September, 1996. A recipient of many poetry prizes, Ms. Goedicke is a member of the Creative Writing faculty of the University of Montana. Her New and Selected volume, The Tongues We Speak, was a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year" selection for 1990. Currently she has new poems appearing or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Hudson Review, Prairie Schooner, Manhattan Review, etc.