This poem was published in The Antioch Review (Vol. 51, 1993).
First Poem About My Father
What about his shirts, then.
He wore white ones, I think, to work
every evening after early dinner.
In home movies of him pitching
a military green canvas tent
beside a transparent stream in Banff or Jasper,
he’s wearing plaid with lots of red.
That tent, folded, filled a giant duffel bag
and couldn’t be lifted by a child.
The poles were massive, rigid,
in pieces that scraped at the joints
when they got dirt in them.
It’s the American school of architecture:
forget bending with the storm like a willow.
If it crumbles or cracks in an earthquake,
build it bigger and thicker next time;
if your first child disappoints you,
don’t let the second or third one get too close.
This poem was published in the Black Warrior Review 20th Anniversary Volume.
“The art of the whirligig is to install some kind of figure up
above the tail and propeller and then use the wind to animate
the figure. Of course, it’s best if it depicts something that has a
constant motion back and forth. Convicts with sledge-
hammers–that sort of thing.”
(The New Yorker, June 25, 1990)
I’m counting what I have one of.
A swan, sipping from the ocean, weeping salt from my nostrils,
I drip solutions distilled from their problems,
and oh, honey, I seven wonders of the world you.
Like the man’s ashes that attended the Super Bowl in his son’s pocket,
I’m for an underground existence if it means being earthquaked by you.
I’m colonizing inner space before someone else does.
Harmony, order, perfection; robots for the cooking and cleaning.
Come floods, locusts, fire, we’ll have insect orchestras
serenade our spontaneous combustion for oh, honey,
I theory of the universe you.
I’m on a binary search for truth and beauty
somewhere after L but before Z.
A computer searching records,
I keep going until there’s a match cause oh,
honey, I queen for a day three-part harmony
winner of the spelling bee red sky at night sailor’s delight you.
This poem, like the one in my First Post, appeared in Phoebe: A Journal of Literary Arts (Vol. 24, No. 2). Phoebe has a new name these days, Phoebe: A Journal of Literature and Art, and it appears once annually in print and once online.
The Woman Who Gave Up Thinking
how a bracelet of words
could be clasped
to form a sentence.
How the gaps
between someone’s sentences
were to allow for the indentations
She saw the forms
of others’ ideas
like a child’s alphabet blocks
heaped one on the other.
they became tiny animals.
In the silences
there was enough else.
Here’s a poem that was published in Nightsun (Issue #14, Fall 1994).
The Parallel Universe of Grief
In Belize a fat whore whispered to me,
I think about what music does.
Here I place one foot down and then the next,
thinking, she won’t be there,
whatever direction I take.
The woman whose child was killed by dogs
carries a whistle at all times.
Screeee she warns a bus back
and screeee she calls to the drugstore man
who eases her away with lotions.
She pierces the flesh on her husband’s arms,
displays him like a butterfly in a glass case.
Waving to passersby she points:
Jesus on the wall, baby in a box. Screeee
she calls to the public
to come see her patriarch monarch.
I place my feet together, then imagine them gone.
Transparency is my strategy now,
against I know how you feel.
Invisible, I am the wind carrying salt to your world.