There are four in the audience,
five if you count the poet’s son
who is slumped in the metal maw
of folding chair as if he’d rather be
eaten alive than endure another reference
to millennial decrepitude, wind
in the rattle of oaks or the big ugly lizard
of heartbreak. He knows all of her stories,
where her voice will rise and lift for effect.
She’s reading the poem about the feather again. At eight
he learned to take out the e to spell father.
The woman hunkered in the front row is clothed
in an armor of silver jewelry. She emits a low
sigh at the end of every poem. Later, she will
corner his mother over styrofoam coffee
and little cookies to tell her how moved
she was, but really to relate her own stories of lizards.
He imagines the soccer ball he could kick
high over their heads like a dicey moon, the shouts
from the crowd as it sails toward its goal. His dream
is interrupted by his mother’s voice breaking like a shock
of crows on the word “resistance.” She loves
that word, carries it in her purse,
coiled in her tubes of lipstick. She powders
it on her nose, on the cheek that he kisses
I Hate Poetry
I have tried to like poetry –
its enjambed stares
and the patient writers of it
who toil at their desks,
scribble into black notebooks
in parks with the pigeons
and bread-crumbed homeless
who snore their way to inspiration.
I admit I dated a poet
in an attempt to fall in love with the genre
not the person. I fell in love with
his cologne instead, the zaftig waft
of it behind him, an aura of an aura.
I shampooed my hair in coffee
and drank in the tweed of his sweaters,
as metaphor trudged beyond us,
then took the A-train into an alley
for a mugging.
Now that I am too old
for my death to be sad
I wish for poetry to knock
on my door, let himself inside
and leave a black mountain
of punctuation marks
like a garden of orchids
on the open field
of my neck.