Words: Poetry Month, Second Day

 

bark

swim

respect

launder

 

 

POETRY MONTH, SECOND DAY

Bake the bread, brush the dog.

Feed the cats. Respect

the times. Comprehend

this chance to prove yourself.

Have you noticed 

that wet pine bark is purple? 

In the cold night rains,

the spotted salamanders rise up

from the muddy ground,

and slither to the pools 

where they’ll swim out 

their clouds of eggs.

It is Spring, despite everything.

Wash the walls. Rake the lawn.

Launder the sheets and

hang them to dry in the sun.

 

APRIL FOOL–and it’s Poetry Month, once more

APRIL FOOL

 

The trickster dances

through the opened fields,

scattering ticks. Maybe

 

later, snow. Lately,

they’ve been playing

with a germ, teaching

 

us that we need

soap and friends

and fewer things

 

than we thought.

That we can bake

and ponder. That

 

the world is very

small.

THE END OF POETRY MONTH

~a manifesto, or possibly just a rant

 

People who write poems do it ALL THE TIME.

Even when they aren’t writing.

When they’re walking, eating,

sitting in the coffee shop staring out the window.

When they’re watching movies,

running errands,

drinking with friends.

ALL THE TIME.

And once a year,

in the cruelest month,

you haul them out,

put them on display,

act like you care.

THEY ARE NOT LIKE A DISEASE

requiring an awareness month.

You do not pay them a thing

and they do not ask you to.

Maybe they should. 

Maybe they should

go on strike.

In April.

No bookstore readings,

no interviews. 

No new poems.

The extremists among them might

knock poetry books from library shelves,

might stand on street corners.

Their placards might read

 

NOT POETRY MONTH

HAVE YOU NOTICED?

LOCATIONS

LOCATIONS

“. . around the edges of oddness”

        ~A Bluebird Fairy by Emily Anderson

 

You won’t find it 

in halls of ivy, or

in the chambers of kings.

It isn’t between the covers 

of carefully curated 

volumes available only

to members with reservations.

Never in anything 

organized 

by color or size.

Never in anything glossed

or listed or rewarded. 

    But look!

It’s teetering on a tooth

from a reconstructed

conodont. Spinning

on the rim of a sixpence

balanced on a pole

balanced on the rubber

nose of a clown

riding a unicycle on 

a tightrope stretched

between a stormcloud

and the beak of a raven.

It’s lurking in the garden dirt

under the left thumbnail

of the weaver’s second

daughter. If you want it,

you might start there.

STILL LIFE WITH VAN GOGH’S EAR

Gala (Elena Ivanovna Diakonova), c. 1936

 

Pink chrysanthemums melt and spread

across the surface of the black-bound bible.

To the left, a clear glass jar of yellow pencils,

each with a small, fierce face and tiny

wings. The ear,

no longer fresh,

has dropped a bit of blood

on the Spanish lace table covering.

Outside the thinly-curtained window,

the sun shines over a field of what we presume

are red poppies. At least,

that’s what we’re meant to presume.

THE POET’S STUDY

THE POET’S STUDY

(oil on plywood, 4’ x 8’)

~after David Weinstock

Not a simple abstraction—

if there is such a thing 

as simply abstract—

but layered.

Ghosted.

 

Under the brown glaze, 

green—or rather,

greens—escaping 

like leaves,

blades,

tattered flags.

 

The finest edgings

of red,

fingered outward

like flame.

 

Are those human faces

in the cloudiness

at the center,

or pomegranates?

or are they cats,

or planets circling

a central sun,

or is it—a bowl?

Or is it merely the gold

at the center of everything?

THE SWING

THE SWING

~after Marc Chagall

 

His mouth is open, mid-sentence.

The soles of his shoes are yellow,

his pants are green, his jacket

is blue. The figure behind the swing

is a brown blur. The swing

is in mid-arc, coming toward

the artist. In the ether 

above the child, three cats

and a dog named Crazy

who is brown as Earth

are springing into being. 

Crazy went away once

for a fortnight. When he got home,

he fell asleep at once. The animals

came with the swinging child

when he drove from California

to Vermont in one day.  The cats

are named Thak, Willy, and Quilly.

They all died before you were born.

 

 

~Realized the next day that this is an imaginary Chagall painting. NOT Cassatt!