Tuesday, April 28, 2009

EXIT NARCISSISM

Another new poem for this month's writing assignment. Probably the first time I've written more than four poems in one month! ...I started ruminating on narcissism, when it peaks and when it collapses. I was also looking out my living room window, watching the goings-on.


EXIT NARCISSISM


it is just one minute after my fingernails
glow with the royalty of stars
and my hair grows thick with
the floating moons of Venus
when it arrives—a small fist

knocking the front door

it is just seconds after I picture my heart
a silk ribbon running through Calcutta
and my mind is melted down to ink
to stain the thumb of Shakespeare
when I put down my pen

and answer the door

let the hot air burst from my house
like a bleeding lion

it is the young girl I have seen sleeping
at the base of a stop sign
she’s holding a plastic
grocery bag open to me
inside are three limes, six bottles of beer

and a package of butter

she glances over her shoulder
like there might be a spider on her back
she begs me to buy everything
for just one dollar


...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

WOLF ON YOUR BACK

Well, now that Tara's on a blogging hiatus, I'm not sure if I'm going to get any feedback at all. (Where are you, Amy?) But I guess I'll keep posting poems for my own satisfaction. Talking to one's self has never hurt anyone. I suppose.
Writing has been a bit overwhelming lately. It isn't the usual dilemma I've been dealing with--I'm pretty sure I'm meant to teach/write and not go into veterinary science--but I'm having a hard time concentrating and getting all my proverbial ducks in a row. Graduation is looming. So is the presentation of my thesis. I need to arrange my travel plans. I'm eyeball-deep in manuscripts I need to read. The world seems to be crawling with an abundance of writers; at the same time, I'm feeling isolated and small. Where the hell did I leave my confidence? I used to keep a little baggie of it tucked away somewhere...
Here's a poem I wrote last night. The evening started out innocently enough; Tom and I were sitting on the back porch reading, listening to the Braves game, waiting for the sun to sink. Enjoy it, yes?


FOR OUR TENTH ANNIVERSARY I TIED A WOLF TO YOUR BACK


for our tenth anniversary I tied a wolf to your back
while it was sleeping. I tightened the bonds and mentioned
this wolf may have once been silver or bluish gray
before it made its life in the muck of the world.
we were in love. you were very patient
and when I finished the wolf was secured
his front paws perched on your shoulders.
you asked what I meant by it. why, I said,
this is to guarantee the coming of st. francis
whenever you might need him. he spoke to wolves, love,
he will speak to you. very thoughtful, you said,
pulling a small box from your coat pocket.
I opened it like it might be my last drink of water
but out came a single black ant, plump and vicious,
quick to bite, and as I sucked my finger you flicked the ant
back into its box and took my face between your hands.
love, you said, may you always know where to find food.
I knew then we would die together. the wolf began
to wake and was slobbering on your ear, faraway the voices
of frantic villagers rattled into the air. we turned
to face the forest and wait for our saint to arrive.

...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

THE WAY MILDRED DIES

I promise to write more soon. I recently printed my thesis and I think half my brain died with it. :) For now, here's a new poem.


THE WAY MILDRED DIES


she picks daisies one at a time
holds them up to her ear and
shakes them Listening for bells
like the head of a church opening its mouth
inside her forehead And what if
she’s gone deaf waiting to hear it?
she knows the world has slipped
away when she wakes in the same
field with a stone tablet hovering
over her chest. It doesn’t mean
she stops straining toward sound
but she has to resort to magic
she wrote me a letter from her
deathbed “I have friends below
the grass here.” It is the strangest thing
I’ve ever seen Ears sprouting up
on pale pink stems around her grave
their curves cupped in all directions


...

Friday, April 3, 2009

COW GETS MARRIED

Warning. Am currently composing my thesis and need much pink smoke blown up my rear end. If you have any spare compliments lying around, please consider donating to my cause. Your proceeds will benefit those hours when I feel like a complete amateur who makes all the wrong decisions. Thank you for your time.


COW GETS MARRIED


something about the heifer in his backyard
made me want to marry
his only daughter. perhaps the cow’s
plump neck, yellow with dust,
reminded me of the rush of excess?
the way she nibbled (so reservedly)
whenever I passed by,
perhaps it made me wish I had
a piece of something coy?
I pinched the barbs on the fence around her
and it only made me feel worn down
so one night I addressed the farmer.
certainly I assumed a more
satisfying dowry than a half-empty
pack of cloves and bag of biscuits
but she was the only daughter
so I took her without reservation
into my home where I watched the weight
of her neck day after day, hid snakes
in her pillowcase to see how round
her brown eyes could get.
she said she’d never disappoint me and
became more cow-like every day,
begging me to buy her a delicate brass chain,
but all the same she developed
the peevish habit of comparing
all she saw with the taste of flax blossoms.
my love was not as blue as she’d liked it to be,
my stride was not at all star-shaped or irish,
nor did it contain enough fiber for her liking,
my bed gave her nothing to thresh during the day.
she started to moan at night
so rhythmically I could not sleep,
instead I sat on a wooden stool and counted
the songs she wished she could sing—
exhausting work that made me remember
my days as a business man,
formidable creature who wore black
clothes even in summer,
the man who swooned when he walked past
the abandoned dairy down the road
and thought he was tired
of elevators and silver pens.
one night I decided to wait for
this man to come walking by my house.
when he did, we shared a biscuit.
I told him the woman roaming
in the backyard was my only daughter,
true as the flood and yellow as dust.
the drool ran clear down his neck
and he bought her right then for
everything I could fit in a bucket.