September 25, 2008

Chimeric Poetica

"A Stanford University researcher has gotten a preliminary go-ahead
to create a mouse with a significant number of human brain cells –
as long as the creature behaves like a mouse, not a human."

Mouse-brain with human cells writes poetry.
Mouse-body scratches on her nubbled cage floor
verses praising the intricate structure of cheese.

Random spheres in yellow flesh, unseen
and empty, spark delectable reflection.
Mouse-brain with human cells writes poetry.

Scientist gnaws on pencils, concludes, fleas.
His mono-species brain fails to receive
verses praising the intricate structure of cheese.

Alert for human traits, he does not see
what rodentia plus homo sapiens achieves;
mouse-brain with human cells writes poetry.

Mouse-brain with human cells begins to grieve.
Distraught, she darts about her cage, destroys
verses praising the intricate structure of cheese.

Disregarded, Mouse-brain falls into depression.
Apathetic, slow, writes Scientist, unknowing.
Mouse-brain with human cells wrote poetry
praising the intricate structure of cheese.

—Ellen Cole

Posted by dwaber at 07:47 PM

September 23, 2008

The Poet Explains Why She Has Never Written A Love Poem

Poor clichésés! Words like dear, sweet, nice and good
are banned from every poet’s lexicon, deemed meaningless
because their meaning has been drained away
from too much use, and nothing’s left but a shell.

All banned from every poet’s lexicon, meaningless
as an ice cream cone with the cream dripped out
from too much use, nothing left but the shell,
all crunch, no taste. A phrase like I love you

reduced to an ice cream cone, the cream dripped out.
Sweet words all neutralized from over use
all crunch, no taste. Phrases like I love you
make poor poems, and love poems are the worst

of all, sweet words neutralized from overuse.
Vanilla wafers stuffing every valentine.
Poor poems, love poems most of all,
disgust, and so, I euphemize, I similize.

I love you like vanilla wafers, Valentine.
You’re sweet as plain English, the crust in my pie.
See how I euphemize, I love you’s banned, unlike
this poem. In sweet plain English, my love’s

no pie crust fantasy. It’s full of meaning
and can never drain away. I love you, dear.
There. I said it. I’m no Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
but I can count the ways.

—Ellen Cole

Posted by dwaber at 02:38 PM

September 22, 2008

To Wayne, diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1973

People said we looked alike
when we were children. Most
days you were my favorite.
We rode bikes to nowhere,
picnicked in the traffic
island, scooped tadpoles out
of Miller’s pond until you
were banished for falling in.
That was before your luck
dried up, leaving you raw
and cracked as a chapped hand.

Sitting with you here
I see our faces bear witness
against us, yours a road map
to strange countries, mine
grooved from nose to mouth,
eyes grown dreamy. Still, we’re
not so different, are we—
you listening to your voices,
me straining for a whisper
from the muse.

We fish the same pool,
after all, you and I.
You tread water, now
submerged, now bobbing up
for air; I dip a finger,
then a foot, then tiptoe in,
prepared to flee if I
should tumble
into that deep place of yours
where metaphor bubbles
into madness.

—Ellen Cole
previously published in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Sept. 206

Posted by dwaber at 03:17 PM

September 05, 2008

Dance, with Boobs

“A dance class? In the nude?”
My brother-in-law was so indignant
even his nose stood erect. He rolled
his eyes at my sister. Thoughts scrolled
across their foreheads in tandem, plain
as any marquee, Alex will rot in Hell
before we’d send him to a school
like that… and I couldn't explain
how it was

               in the seventies. How we’d
whip off our shirts at the drop of a hat.
Mark, my old dance teacher, may
have been a bit of a leach, okay, was, but
even so, something was there. Something
about naked bodies moving through space,
leaping across the floor, your shape traced
behind, angels printed in imaginary snow.
The muse only comes

                                             once you’re
unclothed, ready to be ravished or spurned.
Vulnerability is our lure, we strip to the bone
for her, and what could be more vulnerable
than my naked nineteen year old breast
tracing arcs in the studio air?

—Ellen Cole

Posted by dwaber at 12:50 PM