Sing what no neighbor dares confess
Amid the squalid safety of the new
(Constructed character of mismatched cubes,
Rectilinear gardens, monochrome)—
This cottage clothed in cheerful dereliction,
The color of a child’s shining sun,
With window-box and dooryard in a mania
Of zinnia, petunia, gazania—
Accidentally annexed, arrises askew,
Gilded, bowered, vine-rife, breeze-cleaned, bird-rung.
Why scorn what abundant life includes,
Careless or a contrary ambition?
Whatever saints and sinners call this home,
God bless and keep them in their foolishness.
Your wobbly letters on the little jars,
The i’s like lollypops, the g’s like smiles,
From your younger self alert the nose:
This one cumin, that one coriander,
Saffron, sumac, cardamom, paprika–
No, that’s cayenne, dad! –Lighthearted warning
To which (as to so many of your words)
I might have listened.
From his hands a melody unfolds
That flits like butterflies through hastening crowd
Seeking stillness on which to alight.
Summer’s fire sags like an overripe peach
And bursting on October’s horizon, splatters
Cool evening across the sky. Continue reading “Cheap poetry, September 26–October 2”
Words tumble over, clumping, clinging,
To roasting pans, potato ricers, caught in the nap
Of soft carpet, leaving me
Dawn opens slowly, with fog-cooled ardor:
At the hinge of the day, you have to push harder. Continue reading “Cheap poetry, September 19–25”
Last Monday was my daughter’s birthday, and the Birthday Troll came again this year, in the night, to steal her presents, hide them in the woods, and leave riddles as clues to their whereabouts. He’s like Santa Claus for curmudgeons, and considerably more entertaining, not to mention one isn’t bound by the Byzantine mythology of popular culture and corporate marketing. The riddles are after the fashion of old English rhyming riddles, like the ones Bilbo Baggins traded with Gollum in the slimy dark under the Misty Mountains, and so I spend half of August looking at the stuff in my yard and woods through the eyes of a grumpy itinerant poet with a twisted sense of humor and trying to find metaphor, simile, pun, any sort of literary device to obfuscate the quotidian. Continue reading “Cheap poetry: A manifesto”