July 21, 2008

Workshop Poem; or, Sorry, Austin

One participant said saxophones
are always being asked to do
too much work in poems.

They are always there growling about
sex, and cigarettes smoking alone, it seems
to me. And so, she objected. Another woman

felt that way about cicadas. You know,
she said, theyíre always there in the background
with their dizzy wings, the infernal saw

of Georgia nights, or Mississippi,
or some godawful Southern swamp. They never work.
Sorry. For me, offered the last, itís bougainvilleas.

And they all agreed. The heavy-scented,
head-filling veil of their pungency, wafting
or whatever, across the veranda, itís predictable.

And then thereís that thing about Vietnam,
the association with the Mekong Delta, or bombs,
or I donít know, but bougainvilleas are just

too much. And so there we were,
with the cicadas and the saxophones and the bougainvilleas
roaring around the table, the poem

flat and quiet between us. Our work
here is done, one announced. Thank you
for the generosity of your words.

—Lynnell Edwards
from her book, The Farmer's Daughter, Red Hen Press, 2003

Posted by dwaber at July 21, 2008 12:50 PM