January 12, 2009

The Poem I Like Best

makes as much sense as a hunk of stone
warm enough to keep you
on your back, arms wide, eyes closed
long after the sun has moved on.

—Derek Sheffield

Posted by dwaber at 01:54 PM

January 11, 2009

Ars Poetica: Punitive Version

I begin writing by reading,
warming up with the masters
and the minors, and sometimes

the poem Iím holding
under the light of a single lamp
begins to draw all the poems

Iíve ever read and loved.
From assigned cells in the head
or kneecap, they appear,

the ones who picked my locks
and crawled through my windows,
vague, sleepy faces of both the formerly free

and the formal, crowding for a look.
Some begin chanting,
fresh verse, fresh verse,

while others bet on meaning,
tercet, and wit, or was it
the rhyme in the last line that did it?

—Derek Sheffield

Posted by dwaber at 02:08 PM

January 10, 2009

Ars Poetica: Married Version

A white chip of moon rules the sky
          as I pad softly across the driveway,
open the door of my house, and step in.
          Weaving through whisking thumps
of the dog's tail, scattered crayons
          and dolls, I make my way
past the door of my daughter's room,
          and into the kitchen where the coffee maker
is making its final gurgles. I pour a hot cup,
          add cream, and stir. From here,
at this early hour, my study is no longer
          a garage. Its lighted window
looks more like the back of a bronze chariot
          drawn by winged, see-through horses,
and that pulsing drone is an echo
          of a distant horn, and not the refrigerator.
Is that what she sees from this vantage at the sink
          when I am writing and framed in that light?
Am I a clever, leaf-crowned god stroking his beard
          and stitching the void with electric lines?
Or, as she's scrubbing dried egg
          from a plate, twisting a can opener,
does she see something else? A beast, perhaps,
          obsessed with writhing every morning
in its own shit, hairy, helpless, and beyond itself
          under the great and glowing bone in the sky?

—Derek Sheffield

Posted by dwaber at 02:52 PM