Redefining north.

The French Revolution by Michael David Madonick

The French Revolution by Michael David Madonick


Associate poetry editor Rebecca Pelky on today’s bonus poem: I’m not going to tell you about this poem. I’m not going to dissect it to perfect breaks of lines or twist it into long spirals of metaphor. I’m not going to think it to pieces so small it defies meaning. Because this poem begs me not to, and it’s built with such care that I don’t want disappoint it. It argues with grace to be saved from solutions. Instead, we’ll let the iridescence be a reflection of nothing but color and light. We’ll navigate sound as a bat might, sending it out, waiting for its return as itself. It’s true, there are no maps in this, no net, but the water is soft in the darkness, and will catch us yet.

The French Revolution

Sometimes things are just themselves, an event
of language pursuing itself the way the hound

lost in peppergrass engages a circle, a sphere, the hot
scent of the absent. Still, one needs such excursions,

the slow boat across the pond, the ponderous
regiment of oars, turtles inherently tumbling

from their perch. One needs the incantations
of the itinerant, the offerings a moment brings, as if

they were dragonflies delighted with their own
iridescence. Expectations, conclusions, the dead-aim

explications of the world hold no water. For Christ’s sake,
the darkness wants us to be calm, to take to it the way a bat

might, faithfully coursing the unilluminated regions of its
particular suspiciousness. I must say, I am a bit tired of

answers, of the hard drawn proof of the map, the
weatherman predicting what cannot be hammered down or

the theorist always bringing me back to something
that settles him, makes him safe, but rarely


Michael David Madonick is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois where he has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years. He has been published in Boulevard, the New England Review, The Florida Review, the Northwest Review, the New Ohio Review, and many others. His first book, Waking the Deaf Dog, was published by Avocet Press in New York, 2000. His most recent book, Bulrushes, was published by The Backwaters Press in Omaha, Nebraska, 2013.

Get to know PN's managing editors.

Get to know PN's managing editors.

Writers on Writing #96: George Choundas

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