"From the Arms of One Man Into The Arms of Another"
________________________________________________________________________________ for Theodore ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ In view of the human condition, the only sustainable posture is one of humor." Pirandello ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ I walk into doors to everyone's delight I constantly step on the toes of those I happily kiss I smash into strangers while shaking hands I wrap my arm around the dark lamp-post putting on my coat in the rain I drop all the papers I'm holding I trip on the rug I slip on the waxed floor on my way to the door ruining a graceful good-bye only the whippet understands me only the parrot and maybe the comet who knows what it means to be perfectly in orbit and still crack up just because something gets in your way just because something else didn't know you were coming forgot to move or couldn't and there you were spinning around each other for a moment then flung out again quite breathless and puzzled into that silent icy realm between the outer edges of the solar system and the nearest stars where it is never 10:30 or noisy city or mid December when we see you O Kohoutek whose head is really in the clouds huge ones of hydrogen atoms containing the mysterious source molecule I have the same problem I can't really see where I'm going either and yet a tremendous force is shooting me forward at terrifying speed. sequins and opals taunt the regular dark radiation pressure buckles the tail away from the sun into telescopes and notebooks Schmidt camera and scientific data a gorgeous answer some think comets the last change to find primordial material to know who or what peered up from the fire and grunted last time you came by 10,000 years or so ago nameless & nonchalant with your secret of inner economy & longevity we are desperately roaming the streets for such things! and some bored by it all like the man on my bed languishing telling me everything bores him Get a telescope I want to tell him I just want to scream Get a telescope! ________________________________________________________________________________ LOVE SONG FOR T. ________________________________________________________________________________ The moss makes soft green bumps along the shore like when I had hives on my butt soft pink slightly raised circles and the doctor said "Looks like an allergy, go home and sit down and try to think of all the new things that have come into your life in the last few days, you're probably allergic to one of them" and it was the day after the first afternoon I had made love with you & I thought Oh No! ________________________________________________________________________________ WHO NEEDS IT ________________________________________________________________________________ the skaters dodge the way you lie across the ice Down again! Most friends will dodge you too noting only the color of your sweater the amazing sheen of your frozen gloves as they glide past netting blue & silver light. it is equivalent to the feeling things aren't going to go the way you planned. He has handed you a slip of paper on which nothing is written yet it says "At a certain age you will toss your morals to the wind" Oh Daphne who refused love from the start I too want to be done with the folly of beginning! We clapped and clapped when the terrible singer had finished so relieved it was over we rose to our feet and descended Only those trying to impress their escorts were smiling. There are others with such irreversible clarity that lying beside you at night they will simply say -- Please take your elbow out of my eye -- or will remain full length on your bed watching you Rebuff to answer anything Sobriety that chokes the heart! One would have better luck speaking to a landscape. because of this my life has been The Soggy Pillow Testimony. When Hemingway shouted up "What am I going to do? I have no typewriter!" Dorothy Parker leaned over the rail of the Rotterdam and threw down the brand new portable she had bought to use on the voyage. Had it been me I would have shouted back "Sell some of your fishing tackle! ..... Ernest" I can get dressed by myself I know which way is North Even without Nietzsche, Milton, or Wittgenstein I know enough to ask Where is the gate to paradise? I can walk I can answer I can bend with the one who ties his sneakers & says "I'm leaving this circus" ________________________________________________________________________________ HOW TO GET BY ________________________________________________________________________________ I often wonder just to get your attention I am usually indifferent to what I tell you, scarcely endangered by hysteria I remain on the coast & never go out further than where I can stand up. The lazy valley is destroyed every afternoon promptly at 4 after that we have tea & go to the volcano at 6. Myself, I enjoy seeing deserts being made & I try to be there at 8 every Tuesday. Children seem to like watching the mountains forming and are often dazzled as we trace a river to its first raindrop. I remember having to diagram a rainbow in the sixth grade -- it left me limp for hours. Also I received particularly high marks during the term on thunderstorms (& here is where the girls excel -- the boys being better at dissecting clouds). But, looking back, it's the words of a bent hooded old matron that I've come to depend most upon "My dear," she rasped, resting her shoulder on the wall of the cave where we were observing the development of stalactites, "My dear, sweet almond oil, oil of rosemary, & two drams of cocoa oil massaged gently into the underarms & insteps will carry you through almost any situation." ________________________________________________________________________________ NEMESIS ________________________________________________________________________________ A momentary fragment of a minute occasion as you cut the cards The Queen of Swords I remembered, what it was that had inspired me the missing figure in a sudden photograph a space whose body hadn't caught up with it yet a consequence of postures preceding dynamism You zip your pants tuck in your shirt & buckle your belt You are born & ready to go! Out of the bathtub & into the night a little silhouette of pathos You're out on the street with a maniac refusing to listen to me & yet I pause at your uncanny ability to adjust in the face of tumultuous error to leave & then come back like that -- to be so at home in the antecedent. ________________________________________________________________________________ FANTASY 28 ________________________________________________________________________________ A complicated network of brackets by the balustrade of the verandah blue & white porcelain full of magnificent cherry branches, their blossoms overflowing to the very foot of the railing. Pillows of laburnum, golden yellow. Patterns of another sort hung loosely over the shoulders of an elaborate canopy the many-colored interior inlaid with mirrors and mother-of-pearl under the window rim echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds low soughing of pines my feet on the soft straw matting I bring you the juice of grated radish leaves in a kaolin cup with the colorless glaze of the T'ang lustrous as jade on a tiny almond tray with opal fingers you lift and sip "Exquisite!" you pronounce but just as I look up I realize! you're not satisfied. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Something happened this weekend that broke my heart I'm not even sure what it was but I've decided to give all the moss I brought home away for Christmas presents really it's beautiful & I don't want it around What has changed? very little . . . the flight of stars & bio luminescence are visible from 2nd ave jackhammers attend us as we browse through all the markets sizable explosions puff steel netting into knee-high air Oh Construction so perfect & mysterious & beyond low hills outside the city Should I quote you that it is dirty noisy crowded & say I love it! What would you think if by the misty reservoir you found me lacking in presence dissatisfied with solitude To be alive is to be a Great Noise! The esplanade lined with palm trees in a hurricane! Remarkable beads of sweat & shoes! that take us where we want to go! Even on sidewalks it is Fall or Winter Spring or Summer & always with enthusiasm! ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Go ahead Spit the mushrooms I cooked so perfectly back into your plate mumbling something about sand See if I care! Outside that door an entire segment of history is waiting to treasure me I'm fated to be rich and spoiled Pampered by millions! Wafting towards breakfast under globs of crystal and gold leaf my trains of snowy chiffon and dotted swiss bounce off the marble columns breathless and outrageous even in the rain even with my satin slippers soaked! Through halls so oceanic the Arabic and Persian rugs form archipelagos against the walnut knobs of the velveteen loveseat against wicker settee & the drawing room chair with the great swollen rose painted on cretonne Crush these flowers for my sunken bath! and listen you can hear colossal foamy gardens squeezing up between the toes of the serpentine goddesses The all-night daricers still reflected in the pool onlookers swathed in discarded fruit rinds curtains drifting out over the goldfish ............. One flitting afternoon you might stand cooking your own mushrooms realizing "What a blunder!" to have lost her to the pearls and the polo ponies' Pin stripes and pastels linen and lavender silk O Pardon my Snobbery! my Rapture my weeping! into the imported folds of this pink shirt while palominos gallup through sprinklers on private grass & under gaudy yachts white birds have surfaced like these Damned mushrooms on the sea! ________________________________________________________________________________ "Must I be born with so little art as to love the one who would break my heart" Buffy Sainte-Marie LAMENT OF THE WOMEN ________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! I am your humble servant my knees bleed! Always at pledge bowed before you I throw my whole life to the dogs! Strew rugs of balm and lavender under your feet Here! Take these hands these eyes! I will be the end of perfection for you the last sentence the answer to everything! Maintaining the perfect order the valuable beauty long after my strength has failed me I will begin anew In one afternoon I will be 10 women No twenty! My forehead damp my arms feverish to finish in time these tortuous accomplishments promptly devoured this eternal reconstruction. All for you my exhaustion! the driven spirit parched & staggering who has oiled the oaken floors there to sink at last Your footstool! your simple handmaiden in the blazing rays of these polished lamps the effect like a song in color! ________________________________________________________________________________ HONESTY ________________________________________________________________________________ Honesty is all right for men, but I don't think it does a woman any good at all. _______________________________________________________________________________ FANTASY 22 _______________________________________________________________________________ O to be young & neglected! Left alone for long unguarded hours in the ruined palace. The delicious yield of the marvelous rugs and tapestries! To roll with wild abandon down flights of smooth cool marble stairs & get up bruised & tortured by love! exhausted in the tangled garden overgrown exotic shrubbery stinging your thighs & shoulders. To leap into icy waters of bronze fountains & gasp for breath. Here are diamonds that shatter on your hair. & the thick wings of the peacocks. Loose trousers of the night, dark purple that billow & fold with a shudder. I sat beside you on the bed my senses reeling. Forehead pressed through torn silver lame to lean on a clear cold window The palace hounds withdraw along velvet corridors & now to follow them! To fling from balconies into enchanted rosewood drawing rooms To swoon! To drop upon mauve servants in immaculate dress. To slide your ear along Persian silk divan & insist on silence! O to be young & neglected Left alone for long unguarded hours in the ruined palace! ________________________________________________________________________________ OVERLAPPING CULTURES ________________________________________________________________________________ Yesterday I sewed your kimono & today I sewed your burnoose Last week the goose-down hunting jacket -- What country am I in anyway? ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ A magazine in the face well, it's more than a puff of smoke flashy as the splender solis on those little pearly treetrunks that dance around your tongue I'd like to go up to the mountain with you sometime talk awhile then fall behind & change my shape Grey & rangy as my coyote sisters I know you'd totally freak-out as I stalked you up the mountain drooling hunger & howling at the fleshcolored sun Ah Ha! You'd really be moving then slipping & sliding up the sheer cliffs grasping at crumbly rocks, scurrying on cut palms & torn pantknees Then I'd circle round rush on ahead change my shape back & greet you as you came crawling over the glass-sharp cliff share my lunch with you give you some wine maybe talk about old times maybe I'd even mention this evening when you threw a magazine in my face or maybe I wouldn't just stare into the sun & catch the glint of steel in my eye casting it down in front of us on the path feel it burst under our boots with the inconsistency of granite plans. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ The night you threw the I Ching across the room I thought this is it He's snapped. ________________________________________________________________________________ "i blew my way to the top" ________________________________________________________________________________ Her fingers expert the air anomalous memories when she doesn't have the things her lover loves anymore. Clothes through the open grating of the window Hard knuckles on the floor characterized by outlines without substance a subtle difference on a big threshold. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ The storm I cross the room in a hurry to touch you. ________________________________________________________________________________ L ON THE TRAIL ________________________________________________________________________________ SPEED! big toes and ankles go up red oak saplings bend down tie tops together "We'll sleep on top," you said excitedly, pointing way up. "Indians had to find out what was edible by tasting a little piece of different things they came across in the woods. We'll do the same!" you said, your mouth full of leaves & grass. squatting pits & bubbles of black earth around your toes WHACK rocks together sparks flicker in dry leaves sun going down on your back, a weightless atmosphere above the moon drops cosmic blackness filled with minute spear points of light. Later in front of the fire mentioning a stomachache hoping you hadn't eaten too many too juicy different kinds of vegetation. ________________________________________________________________________________ SYMMETRY ________________________________________________________________________________ Going to bed 2 AM world view completely shattered tie-dyed a tee-shirt for my man 2 circles on the front 3 circles on the back that's one circle too many, he said. ________________________________________________________________________________ UP IN THE AIR ________________________________________________________________________________ Look through these binoculars & you will see that the children have painted tiny gardens on the end of each lens & that through this washy greenery Antonin Artaud runs screaming "Motorhead! Motorhead! flinging out from his brow droplets of mercury little balls like the disconnected bellies of fat dwarfs forming hexagrams at his feet. The Great Northern Elk & the Caribou obscured slightly by the lush outcroppings are entranced by Artaud he deciphers the lines for them they graze and nod from time to time I am only mentioning this to remind you how it is. You will only find wonder in the first encounter after that a vast indifference & then finally friendship But what a hoax! A smile circling the bone your teeth are busy on. Standing in the doorway dressed for skiing Applying these moments to your life. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ The Christmas tree fell on you while you were sleeping you were lovely your pale face amid the green fragrant branches. ________________________________________________________________________________ "WANTING YOU" ________________________________________________________________________________ While you were going up the hill in the stunning snow the dazzling crystals that floated & fell in the streetlights Snug inside your black 1930s coat, images of your "Goodbye Goodbye rehearsed vivaciously in my mind a sudden cynosure where my attention knelt in rapt admiration So made with love! So frantic with desire! Again and again I watch you turn before me That slightly inclining three-quarter turn Your gloved hand poised the overwhelming irresponsible joy of your voice as it stepped into the gay Russian Troika the stamping steaming horses! the gold & blue banners! My heart left me then tumbling & splashing up the hill the snow melting where it touched Waking up alone I explode from the bed nervous & shaking in this steamy room It is these moments that have led me here this need I have to sleep beside you that has caused all the trouble in my life. ________________________________________________________________________________ LET'S TAKE IT HARD ________________________________________________________________________________ It would be more meaningful if we met by mistake chaos & grit on the whirling roads in the midst of artillery & refugees After 10 long years of separation than for me to be living in a little blue-tiled villa in Greece or Naples & you come in under the honeysuckle arbor in the middle of summer & sit down & have some wine. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ When you're down and under and crushed and shattered smashed and trodden and beaten, bamboozled, kicked and destroyed lost out, gone mad, fell back, shot up, done in, wiped out When your heart is broken and your nose is running, your days are numbered, your lot is cast, you're wasted, worried, choked up and ruined left out, disinherited, sweating, frustrated, alone and demolished, hopeless, despairing, depressed and insane you're lousy you know it you wish you could change Your coat's ripped, your nose is crooked, your brain is mush, your hands are cursed, your life is worthless and you're uncomfortable a hunchback, a sucker, a recluse, a frog When you know you can't make it You're hideous, helpless, pusillanimous, squirrelly and dumb just bear in mind that 9/10's of everything is posture Stand Up! ________________________________________________________________________________ FED UP! ________________________________________________________________________________ Call the planes the schedules the air fare I'm leaving! I'm going this is it I'm through finished Call the trains the taxies I'm going Greyhound I'll hitch part way It's the last straw I'll walk jump a freight take a tugboat join a yachting party catch a ride I've really had it! Few people have lived to be as through as I am! I'm not staying here another minute! I'm packing right now So Long! you're going to miss me Where's my suitcase where's my boot where's the keys where's the door ________________________________________________________________________________ ABAY-O ________________________________________________________________________________ The little island sinks in your face How remarkable too few imagine the impossible & yet we are here! See he attacks the plants with the scissors. White triangles blaze in your eyes, spooky and informative as cologne. The trees part for the bus, the bus becomes a part of the trees, you are parting from me, I can no longer see you. ________________________________________________________________________________ TRAVELING ________________________________________________________________________________ I left it. That was my burst of exuberance for the entire stay. The letters that followed were dug up out of a box in the attic events had gone by obvious to no one Subtle mechanisms slick as otters under water a man taking you out of joy & into your clothes for the sake of it a last resort when you run out of sexuality on the open road. Random productions begin sticking to every bush & passing truck we became the universe's reaction to Itself. annoyed hassled How awful! in terms of tragic endearment we were accustomed to the original & now this these repetitious cities at the peak of attention modern miracles at ease with time. ________________________________________________________________________________ FANTASY 29 ________________________________________________________________________________ I see myself with you and fantasize the heroine. You never love me but you are awed and hypnotized by my power over events and the surrounding environment. ________________________________________________________________________________ FANTASY 19 ________________________________________________________________________________ Transfigured now my torso darkens below the violet bandana rain drops from silver ear-hoops from tattooed shoulders to the clammy steaming deck of the galleon. Between my moody fingers the latticed sea roils. On the way to the Arabic coast wearing nothing, but my jeans Oh the native sons & daughters they will fall on their faces along the beaches! My teeth flashing in the glint of the Mediterranean on my knife. I am barely smiling. My high-pitched laugh pierces the little swells of foam the prow of the brave ship I took from the Spaniards dips into the water the crew I found three days ago floating on a rotting wooden raft plots to murder me spittle & salt sparkle in their soggy mustaches bad magic in their blades they huddle under the poop deck massive arms & necks too terrified to move. I don't even turn around ________________________________________________________________________________ for Helen Adam ________________________________________________________________________________ The world goes by in orgasm, Churning blue with energy clouds froth out glitter milky in the sunlight I walk toward the mailbox The road to the east is empty to the west 4 black crows hassle a dead rabbit Freaky cries in the still air Bran is back. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Yang Chu said: "You may do good without thinking about fame, but fame will come to you nevertheless. You may have fame without aiming at pelf, but pelf is sure to follow in its wake. You may be rich without wishing to provoke emulation and strife, yet emulation and strife will certainly result. Hence, the superior person is very cautious about doing good." ________________________________________________________________________________ MOVIES ________________________________________________________________________________ The hero was cowardly pathetic sniveling base immoral apolitical greasy & self-deluded I identified with him totally. ________________________________________________________________________________ for Ted BIRTHDAY KISSES ________________________________________________________________________________ After the mass of brilliant blossoms & the night I have come by the granite basin under the fountains over a lot of steps kicking wattle nuts along the flawless tiles OH even this wild Northern with its shifting whites and lighter greys that drift across the square is full of kisses for you & thoughts of kisses & maneuvers & plans of kisses Baths of kisses! Birthday kisses! wild about kisses I throw myself upon you clasping your waist excessive heat distorting the snow around us melting the crystals on your thick boyish lashes just like a novel whose frenzied excitement sends us into cataleptic trance, I would try anything I could think of to land in your arms Without the slightest difficulty beside myself with joy somersaulting out of bed like an athlete to fall on my face again & swear eternal love! ________________________________________________________________________________ THANK YOU, AMERICA ________________________________________________________________________________ And Oh Wheaton! for your shirtless hot youths! intoxicating chests buffeted by the breeze in the rolled-up sleeves of their faded levis terrific muscles under their open shirts i could smother in caresses a posture just between the cab of Dodge pick-up and the gravel drive standing on the springboard of a red grain truck tan-armed hand on the rolled-down window rim I weep on the dashboard kissing those locks of hair Hugging the necks of that wild shyness Where is the applause of a crowd of enthusiasts for a jaunty torso barely inclining forward sliding from the seat I press to my eyes the image OH Moocher of my peace A body slightly in the air halfway to the ground all bravura and boldness before the grain elevators Armfuls of sky! Heavy dark boots and light tousled hair Such beauty rips me limb from limb! I'm not a crazed sex maniac it's anatomy these supple joints the sporting step that takes them dazzling blond hair brushing their shoulders blue eyes dashing forward bounding up the feverish drowsy streets of Wheaton, Minn. pop. 2,209 Right past me sitting here the hottest blow job in town! ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ On the morning of the first night I woke up before you when you woke up we were looking at each other you didn't say I love you and neither did I then I went into the kitchen the magic mushrooms were like red & yellow cushions I boiled an egg and brought it to you the room was very round you said this is the most perfect hard-boiled egg I've ever eaten I said I'm a terrific cook! ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ A man is always saying to me "Get out of my light" or "Will you sit down" Similar to those whitish flowers tinged with faintest yellow, pink, or greenish I am seldom where others expect me to be "Come to bed," he demanded "What are you doing?" I was on the toilet madly making plans to impress him. Arriving at the gallery 4 days after the show had closed I sauntered nonchalant among the blank walls and then quickly took the elevator down "You Idiot!" I said to myself when I reached the street This is what Nijinsky meant when he wrote "the maids have become stupid" as though some part of himself had failed him by their actions. The tires slid on the ice I drove continually in wrong lanes. Lost in wonder and amazement I so often forget The wheels are in my hands! And we go driving over bumps and curbs astonished by the purple glaze on the snow. Almost at the top of the nearly perpendicular hill halos of yellow broke over the jeep "O The Moon" I shouted pointing stopping in second gear having to shift to first and rolling almost to the bottom before starting back up. Ruth St. Denis created EGYPTA after receiving inspiration from a cigarette poster in a drug store. Did she stare open-mouthed drooling? or spill her soda or bump into customers? Did the man she loved have to say "Turn here! Turn here!" or "You're grinding the clutch!" or "You've left the lights on ... again ......." ________________________________________________________________________________ THE CONFESSION ________________________________________________________________________________ Which shall I tell you first that I finally saw a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker drumming on adjacent willows or that I ripped the top of the jeep backing out of the garage And don't say anything about it being the "Classic" little woman wrecks new car just after my being told I was an insurance risk the garage is too low in the first place & I'm just learning to drive a stick shift anyway and if a man does something like that it's just an accident but if a woman does it's because she's a woman Since it's our car the roof can be my half now and don't forgive me! I don't want your forgiveness! ________________________________________________________________________________ the great Yu of the Shia Dynasty before he became emperor he was the minister in charge of flood control ....... ________________________________________________________________________________ Be careful not to say too quickly "He's putty in my hands" or you may appear in midnight downpour digging a trench in frozen ground half an acre of melting snow around your ankles & Tired of being that Scorched Romantic figure smoldering in drowned weather of ruined exhausted charm & feverish sick of the soppy rayon of the theme! a story so complicated it can only be told in 83 episodes Once I was on the phone and then face to face both equally disastrous he did not even have the decency to stamp his foot when he said "You sat on your ass." it was like finding yourself still reading a story you could tell from the first page wasn't going to be worth it. He actually said "You have no rights Moral Law alone makes you my prisoner Your Karma will get you.... " a dangerous pause "think about it" No! I refuse to be the one responsible for everything the Japanese Plum blossoms in severe cold and through all this my mission remains clear I am the Tooth Fairy! embodying that accepted logic that will give me magic powr to trade silver for enamel and still come out ahead "What an excellent thing it is," Confucius said, "to be able to find a source of consolation in yourself!" ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Because of the uneven distribution of wealth I am a person who makes mistakes A lack of money causes insecurity Insecurity causes indecision and it is Indecision that makes me awkward & clumsy While I identified the flower as the Late Purple Aster We ran out of gas ................ ________________________________________________________________________________ "Where there's writing, there's hope" She once told me crossing a street ________________________________________________________________________________ Just because the sea is calm doesn't mean that I can drop you at the airport with a cheerful kiss calling out "See you in five days" Thanks to you I now can tell the song sparrow the white throat and the chipping sparrow apart & be happy just to crouch with one foot in the chilly swamp a shivering arabesque in darker night folded fingers poised on flashlight switches Desiring only a view of some frog's head as it emerges from oozing tufts Singing the song that brought us here toot! toot! three dozen throats we can't see a chorus of tin whistles as invisible as hocus pocus & the famous Silver Sign the constellations hold All Is Not Lost! it reads Does Nature really know something we don't? In Japan there is a mountain named Monkey Mountain but there are no monkeys on it long ago there were thousands however, civilization advanced and the monkeys fled Now tourists read the placard Monkey Mountain & stand squinting into the trees gesturing without the slightest reservation......... With him my love just flew out the window he didn't bother to look up as it went by. Desperation! that made me too serious for my own good. Even the Jesuit grinned, "You get 20, 25 priests holding confession it just goes like nothing." Crazy icy night, that goes by talking to itself "You Bum! You leave us high and dry and call that information!" Once I had nothing now so much is at stake my teeth are chattering & I had wanted to grow up calm and lyrical like the sea on our way to the airport O Sunday water in this big dish! ________________________________________________________________________________ "She's a real tough cookie" -- Susan Howe ________________________________________________________________________________ "He has a stick up his ass" You Put it so well! Overwhelmed by his charm, arrogance, eloquent taste, and brilliance I had not recognized the rigid back the myopic courtesy. At the opening ignoring the fact that I was holding a drink in my hand he continued to shake it sloshing wine all over ourselves and the small crowd that was gathering. A dizzy vapor shifts across the Spartina Patens sulphur-colored grasses hide the tidal flats the gull shakes his head to get rid of the brine and what I do is functional too! I am no lonesome decoration on the shore noticed only in the absence of others! A friend who was so tough she simply said of the poor old professor in the ballet "He shoulda got one while he was young" That same girl seated balanced on a thin rail holds over her head a leafy branch from one of the shade trees to ward off the advancing rain. She is tilted slightly backward as though extending a hand to fend off blows of heavenly retribution. Another darker woman crouches on 31st and Broadway modestly taking a sponge bath while early morning crowds pour by. Dipping a rag into a battered tomato tin filled with water she discreetly lifts the green frock away from her body with one hand and washes with the other "We must not weep so that we may not be comforted" wrote Simone Weil --There are ways of making the worst suffering bearable -- Absent one leg Sarah Bernhardt went on acting. P.T. Barnum offered her $10,000 for the amputated limb and the right to exhibit it. ________________________________________________________________________________ for Orhan Veli Kanik ________________________________________________________________________________ You said that you'd come up and bring the Vail Tails & the Algae Eater the tank & all the stones and shells some sand You'd bring the bike and cowboy hat....... But the cat you said had fallen in love and you didn't want to separate them ________________________________________________________________________________ a dreary poem ________________________________________________________________________________ The day was made bearable to look at by the sun which floated over everything the murky distant air the blurry separate ports with their chipped & peeling boats .... I have finally learned how to kiss someone good-bye ________________________________________________________________________________ come kiss me on the neck and nose and in the eye and hand Don't call me when the weather blows to tell me you've been canned. for r and m and s ________________________________________________________________________________ Don't crack up Go koo koo off the rocks get soaked Don't loose your marbles Twitch your tea Be harried License revoked. Don't hold your breath Lose precious sleep. Snap your cap Pop your buttons Blow a fuse Short out! Don't go under Freak off the scene Drown your hopes & Pout Don't let this old world get you down and others get your goat Don't sink your ship Snap your cookie Up a tree Not wrapped too tight they'll say. Don't come unglued Be in a stew Let a screw come undone Get sapped. Don't go turkey Bees in your bonnet Cook your goose Have bats in your belfry & worse Don't go out of your gourd Loose your cool Let it throw you Be bowled over Come unstrung Don't go batty End up dotty weeping doorsteps midnight phone calls Friends who wish you'd sit up straight! ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ O Alkaline sap of the Ash gone blue in autumn purple in tone Reddest Sweetgum Sumac and dogwood Oak & Poplar Aplomb in birch and Scarlet. Tulip tree & Willow bright yellow Beech Mahogany & Prune Vermilion O Racy Sassafras Redbud Blueberry in flame with Rose & Orange Bounce off these windshields as we go laying rubber past old high schools Yelling "Dactyls! Sestina Iambic Pentameter!" at the top of our lungs Crashing through drifts of Ginko leaves There are times when you must throw yourself overboard in order to survive the salty tourmaline moon and the stars they are lovely and cannot be entered by reason ... or..rondel ........... ________________________________________________________________________________ YELLOW YO-YO'S ________________________________________________________________________________ For years I was an outlaw Wanted by the law in Frisco married to one man living with another children it seemed all over the place then I went straight Caesar & Brutes Anthony & Cleopatra Abbott & Costello Lewis & Clark Damon & Pythias Burns & Allen You & Me, Kid my angel in the morning I can hardly see for the golden feathers all over the bed ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Standing in the evening I heard a horse Snort it was the sea . . the tide coming in . . . . . . . ________________________________________________________________________________
Copyright 1977 by Maureen Owen.
First published in Big Deal 5 edited by Barbara Baracks. Long out of print, it is presented here complete.
Light and Dust @ Grist Mobile Anthology of Poetry.