Archive for May, 2009

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But Where Does It Go?

May 30, 2009

but where does it go

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Three Poems About the Telephone

May 30, 2009

Poem 1

Answer It

the phone rings
and you come unstrung
like a string of pearls

the phone rings
and your fingers are encircled
in tones of silver and gold

the phone rings
and the bedroom in the back of your head
is papered with cut red velvet

the phone rings
and keys jangle
in the caller’s calloused hand

the phone rings
because he has put his finger on
the only existing key

to your heart’s lock

Poem 2

What Pulls You Through *

in the course of the conversation        he
takes you back to his family’s farm
white eyelet curtains fluttering through open windows
over the telephone he leads you        into that Iowa cornfield
stalks so high and dense no one can see you
lays you down in the plowed earth          wet and cool
breathy cirrus clouds        behind his head         the sun eclipsed
by a kiss that tastes of promises        and
it is the idea of that kiss        that pulls you through
the babbling miles of fiber optics
and sows your desire in his dream        that very soil he turns over
with ungloved hands

Poem 3

When Anxiety Won’t Return Your Phone Call **

then it’s time to forget
the number you’ve been dialing
time to reprogram
that speed dial
turn on the radio and argue out loud
with the talk show host
slap down that newspaper
get up out of the comfy chair
and go back to the phone
call that man to find out
what’s really been on your mind

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* This poem originally appeared in The Lucid Stone, Winter 1998, Issue No.16
** This poem originally appeared in The Moon, Volume 1, Issue 7, July 2003

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Gumby Aglow

May 13, 2009

gumby aglow 1

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Three Poems from a Previous Life: Canada, circa 1993

May 13, 2009

Poem 1

The Narwhal
Markham Museum, Markham, Ontario

you’re not real        you’re
fiberglass and paint        whale-song-moaning
through climate-controlled museum air
filling empty bottles and shells
with the silt of history        your spiraled tusk
as lethal as the knight’s lance        as legend
as the unicorn’s horn         unreal
your great needle slid through the fabric
of frigid waters        burst through the broad nets
of incredulous fishermen        skewered any and all
disbelief in        God and sea monsters

Poem 2

The galleons rise,

prows moonward; buoyant bodies
sway in the sanguine waters with each contraction
of the heart. In every vessel, a captain

unrolls charts, calculates the distance
between us. The light from their lamps
threads through the portals, links mooring

ship to ship. The constellations they draw
differ from person to person: the howling
woman, the man of glass, the laughing dog.

The tide turns inside each of us.
Anchors raised, the ships drift from shore.

Poem 3

The Egg Illuminates*

In the midnight of the kitchen, the egg illuminates.
From an open box, a pearly radiance
billows; through an open window, the light

blankets fields sown dark with cricket song,
unrolls onward only to break
over the rim of insomnious cities.

warm the egg in the basket of your hands.

in the silence between breaths, heed
the tiny claw scratching against the shell, the fainest
of heartbeats beneath wet feathers.

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*This poem appeared previously in the Midwest Quarterly, Autumn 1996, Vol.XXXVIII, No.1