Poetry Corner

Reflections on Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”


You like to talk smart to me.

we talk about buildings

and look at mountains—

watch things wave in the wind

and the wind wave our hands

across little prickly greens.

You like to watch wilderness:

these are hooves; this—a tail

we are drunk on hooves and howls

as if drunk on wine,

our disconnectedness—bitter,

our mutuality, like tannins, like boldness

the high, like a headache,

it’s 13.5% crippling—nature.

The rest is a subtle collective of confusion,

unrest, admiration, and spiritedness.

The walk, too, is a drunken one:

stumbling, laughing, forgetting

which air came from us and

which from the green things.


I like when we know we’re breathing—

when we know we’re alive, under sky,

among green things.  I like touching

hands next to trees and whinnying

things, things and beings

who tell us, in more or less words,

that there is so much more

beyond our conversation.

There are wine feelings:

little things that rustle,

life’s tannins, things you swirl in glasses

things you can’t talk about,

but maybe look at, observe, and depart from

drunk and born again, shaken and stirred.

You’ll be two, still but also two and twenty.

You, him, and everything that moves:

everything that’s wild,

everything like wine.


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