No poems for three months, no near poems,
I revise, clean up, throw out. I index the survivors
by first word or key word. No X or Z, of course,
but at least one poem for every other letter -
except L. And how can that be? The one who loves her family,
loves her friends, loves her lovely garden,
loved the lovers who long ago moved on,
has nothing left to say?
What about Laughter? What about Life?
Am I waiting to be named queen of Loss
Better to settle for lunch
in the small French restaurant downtown
where a casual companion
lifts my hand to his lips whispering, La langue,
time now to speak of light verse.
previously appeared in VERBATIM and SNAKESKIN
WRITING TO SAY
There is no loss or horror too lost or horrible to write about,
no word unspeakable, though you may hate to hear the word terrorist,
the growing roar of the double r, the hiss of the ist ?
So try this when you’re having trouble falling asleep
or waking up: think about the newborn baby next door--
hairless is less threatening--swaddled or naked,
sleeping or sucking. His hands open and close
in spasms, fingers waving like sea anemones.
He is a beautiful baby. No matter the 3 inch
bomb strapped to his 8 inch chest. Remember
the pinafore lady in the kitchen, democracy and gingerbread
to sop up all the milk from the tit of the world.
She has a nasal hum; her lullaby is a refrain.
THREE GRAPHS THREE WORD PAIRS AND THREE SUFFIXES
1. make a found poem on the chalkboard left by the last class,
economics, whose budding economists have left the building
or at least the room.
It would take Jerry Lewis, or maybe Danny Kaye, in cap and gown
pointing to these impossible vectors, lecturing in falsetto, how
monocompetition, or does the smeared chalk say noncompetition,
complicates the premise etc.etc. moreover and furthermore,
explaining the labels dead center over the graphs
expertise and monopoly
or the other two, floating single and chaste as Hegel's angels
2. enter our jolly poetry prof who makes thoughts thinkable,
astonished by the palimpsest, and its last mysterious couplet
The first is either a misspelling for the city over its ears in cinders
or the Roman general summoned to end the slave revolt
of Spartacus. Why pair that word with Cuvier? he wonders. That's
Baron Georges Leopold Chretien Frederic Dagobert Cuvier, the naturalist
who named the pterodactyl, and came up with the shtick
that species have been wiped out, now and then, by this or that,
earthquake or meteorite, or most likely, flood, these random cataclysms
that come upon us all. Catastrophes to make grown men cry.
Back In 2000, tagged a millennium year, didn't the Dow Jones
take one of its longest dives to plummet (such a full-mouthed, chewy word)
to plummet more than 600 pts? Bill Gates dropped 11 billion bucks,
at least as much as the national budget of Freedonia.
Next to this classroom door, on the way out, an afterthought,
a triad, maybe a prophecy ITY ISM IST a natural conjugation
that will mutate, sprout roots or rhizomes, sedge or moss.
In this Pennsylvania valley, between mined mountains,
we sit down to learn on North American Time.