Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mesmer + Dickinson

Another for April, thinking we might get more of the unusual April showers today. First appeared in Pirene's Fountain:


Rain can be like Chopin,
all piano strings
and syncopated pauses, geometry
of blings under wheels
and rubber heels. A bliss
baptism from branches.
Drooled harmonies.
On your neck, wet
kisses slithering. Rings
around plop into pools:
ting, ting, ting, ting. Scriabin
zithering loss up your edges,
then his departure’s
sudden, cold feathering.

And one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems, which I hope to memorize:

HE fumbles at your spirit
As players at the keys
Before they drop full music on;
He stuns you by degrees,
Prepares your brittle substance
For the ethereal blow,
By fainter hammers, further heard,
Then nearer, then so slow
Your breath has time to straighten,
Your brain to bubble cool,—
Deals one imperial thunderbolt
That scalps your naked soul.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A poem for Earth Day

Every Morning I Try

to pronounce a divine name perfectly, knowing
I can’t really say its swallow-swing
or enunciate the syllables a mockingbird
loops in medleys, can’t whisper vowels

of an airplane’s rhyming trail.
Names like that must be repeated
as a flower lets pollen fly. I should mimic
the closed bud’s wise pause.

My human mouth can hardly shape
the million-zinnia alpha letter, let alone
the final plosive dazzle –
but I can hum the consonants
of this green-button day –

and add several bandaged overtones
to the morning-setting moon,
echo two doves speaking
to my dog, who rolls and rolls
on the name’s final Ah.
Since I cannot make that pure sound,

I will get down on the grass and roll with him,
then give the next being I meet
a courteous consonant
dangling an ocean vowel.

first appeared in The Cortland Review (with sound file)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April poem

From my collection Earth Lessons, because the roses are getting ready to pop.

Leaflets long, pubescent. Flowers deep pink in a corymb. Hips large and bottle-shaped.-- Rose catalog.

With five slim petals
she satisfies her procreative need,
enticing flying feet and wings to collude
in a rage to be perpetual.
Behind her sepals’ five-fingered fan
she awaits the sun’s caress. Sly señora,
she knows how to meet a warm hand.
Her private core is deeply gold,
pollinated with the musk of want
becoming tall. Each lingam of light
waggles its cache of pollen in the breeze.
Her stamens climb the sky
but her roots descend
eternity’s steep stair.
Such fragile music
wafts from a gorgeous maw,
yet it excites in us raw
and lovely hunger.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Listening to poetry -- looking at animated poems

I was happy to find a link on Facebook the other day to a poetry video that was a collaboration between the wonderful artist and poet Patricia Wallace Jones, Beau Blue and his Blue's Cruzio Café, and me, animating my poem One Night, Light.

It made me think about the mixed-media possibilities for online poetry. I went to listen to the recordings of my poems that have appeared online and updated my website's Online Reader, which I'd like to rename Online Reader and Radio.

Billy Collins may have helped kick off this trend of animated poetry and mixed media spoken work, with his "The Dead." Whoever started it, it's a trend to watch. A really satisfying experience, to combine art and poetry, animation and poems.