Sunday, July 26, 2009

If on a Sunday night a traveller

A poem from my new manuscript, first published in the Mississippi Review. And then a poem from my second poetry book, Funny.


Monolog for Mother to Newborn Son

The other animals were such animals:

wolf, shrew, weasel, hawk, snake,

always hassling each other.  It is less

spooky without them; less looking over

one’s shoulder, less looking on at

the feasting carnage.  I am often

hungry, however, and it seems

there are limits to my pity.


Actually, this philosophical conversation

is a ruse to avoid the truth while

speaking of it.  The truth is, last night

in my dream I ate you with a knife

and fork.  After a while I noticed

you were half eaten and felt very

sorry about it.  I woke up sick about it.


Still, you are wonderful

and your cheek is a tasty, chewy treat

I will try to protect you from my hunger.


The Sound of Those Drums

A man, walking alone

in the wild woods at twilight

begins to hear a rhythmic


pounding, resounding through

the space between massive

trunks of trees.  I don’t like


the sound of those drums,

he says, frightened, aloud.

There’s a pause, then a woman


yells back He’s not our regular

drummer. Come out from in there. 


Walk out from the darkness

between the evergreen and


deciduous and say it is ridiculous,

this hiding in my song.  What


a bunch of brave brutes we

are; how talented it is


to fearfully play in our combo

even when we may be mistook


for threat of war, or, worse,

critiqued for our interpretation


of the score.  How we arrive

with our casserole dishes

extended, our chocolate hearts


on a platter of fingers, lips

pursing in the plump of a kiss,


offered and offering!  He takes her

in his arms, whispers that he is


always scared, she says she’s

sensitive to negative critique.


He takes her in his arms, whispers,

I don’t like the sound of those


drums, she says, He’s not our usual

drummer.  Through it all a sweet


groaning, intoning.   The more

they understand of these


translations, the more

they lose interest in this plane


of existence.  Instead, it is still

wintertime.  People have been talking


a lot about snow.   You are

letting go of even letting go.  You are


listening and it is sometimes

very interesting.  You keep


your eyes at a far-away glaze,

You feel the weight of your hands.


The trees shimmer, tinseled

winter tremors in the wind.  Things


have a salt haze.  Life is a plump

plum today, a thump on your


skin, an unknown drum, humming. 


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