I have two poems up in the Winter Melt Issue of Mannequin Envy! It’s a very cool journal with some fabulous art, as well as writing. Check it out!
A Found Poem, from The Tower, July 1959
Six local ladies
dressed in beautiful gay
ninety dresses and hats
made a sensational entry
last Friday noon
“Shaver Permit” buttons
to smooth faced gentlemen. They rode
in a stage coach
kindly loaned by “Frontier Town,”
the popular amusement center
accompanied by a Brahma steer
ridden by a beautiful girl
in western costume and a fine Palamino saddle
horse ridden by a man
also in western costume.
a real Apache Indian from New Mexico
in full regalia and drum
rode on the stage coach.
These same ladies
together with others
will be selling “Shaver Permit” buttons
on the streets
(of Ticonderoga) until every “Smoothie” has purchased one.
The net proceeds from the sale
will go to local Committee.
All unshaven males
to purchase and display the buttons
to assist these kind ladies
in their efforts to aid
the success of local festivities.
What We Did
Joined the track team, purple nylon sleeveless tanks
shiny matching shorts, marching up young thighs.
Pulled our white athletic socks up to their full height
(spring training) straightened our backs, flattened our high arches
against cool silver chain link fence, bent our knees
bowed wide firm foreheads against hairless legs.
We stretched. Before we stretched we gathered.
Before we gathered we had to arrive. (Honor roll.) Back up.
Rewind past the cemetery (let the look out come along).
See our breath smoke. Walk (run, run). Warm up in our usual way.
It’s spring in the north country. Sidestep black ice.
Cup hands (that’s how they do it in the movies).
Back track, back to the tracks. Cross-train
over rusted rails. Hardened tar, blackened ties
no chugging mass barreling toward us
ghosts trains don’t run on the empty trestle
like track stars do (no shortcuts, coach says), paying our respects
to the harrier who dashed before us, (silly rabbit) died
with his legs pumping in the icy river
still striding toward that blue ribbon.
While on vacation in my hometown, I have been reading Marie Howe. Her poetry is filled with childhood memories, not many of them happy. The “shocking” or “ah-ha” parts are so well woven into the tapestry of her poems. I had to try it. Especially since I’m here, in my childhood home, in my childhood town. The ghosts, I’m sure, will be happy to oblige with appropriate memories.
The oranges sat out all day
on a pink plastic plate,
cut in imperfect coins.
The house smells
like a rotting grove.
The birds still hunger.
Should I ever want them back,
I will have to part with the fruit.
Stand tall all winter
day after day, bare trees wait
listen for orders.
No gorilla ever asked
what should I do?
No fish ever howled
to be fed. A privilege
among the furred and finned
this early American self-reliance.
Even homeless animals scavenge.
It is the string
it is the knot
it is the strength
of the strung knot.
What if it doesn’t hold?
Be sure to check out the latest prompt at read. write. poem.
Tickle, tickle, I wake up the sun
whoosh of feathers
fans my face
I am burning in the shadow
of the one crow
with a mouse in its mouth
It is possible to burn
in the shadow of something
smaller than yourself
if you rest too close
to a furnace that never turns off.
All this talk of burning
in my hands
these blisters on my feet.
I walked on the coals
because they were white.
Beach sand is hot
but never hot enough to raise
the skin from your arch.
The nurses used scissors
to pop the beautiful bubbles
cut the skin into gorgeous circles.
While my pink lilypads dried
in dusty hospital sun rays,
I floated out the window
(can’t walk on raw feet)
met a star filled with gas.
The firemen who left the coals
at the barbecue felt bad.
They brought me a Barbie
just like the doll whose feet I chewed
when I was too young to walk.