31 August 2004

another poem today

after "Waiting" by Alice Friman, published in The Gettysburg Review, Summer 2004:

Waking

Dawn isn’t soon enough
to pull me up from dreaming.
Compared to action, what’s so sweet about
shagging z’s? Think greyhound—the gate,
the elusive chomp
                           after the rabbit’s
loin and the greedy racing touts.
In the waning night, my feet itch,
dreaming is idleness. Even Sleep,
necessary, yes, but come one sound
she too is leaping from the bed.
No fire, no hail, no siren call
but pumped up and yearning, ready to stare
rapt at the eyes of a full moon.
                                              One bang,
one thunder clap, one hypothetical
melody plays, and there it is—the true
heart-throb of the new day, that tingle
in the ribs thumping out
the piccolo’s whistle and wild hoarse
ache of the oboe, probing into
the mystery it was hollowed out for.
The opening chord.
                            Listen, the day
wakes when it wakes. There’s no stopping
the roll out. Stand on the carpet.
The fibers caress, and out there—hear?
Night exits tapping tambourines, those castanets
of silver, that crystalline clang.

naporhymo #4

4. after "Some Days" and "Vade Mecum," both by Billy Collins:

Some Nights

Some nights I feel my body, small as it is, grow large,
seams if I have them bursting,
I’m fat all over, girl meets balloon,
and know when the string breaks, I’ll float away.

Next minute I’m shrinking to nothing,
my head but a pinhead,
my feet all but gone,
shriekingly fearsome, my screams as I die.

But on bad nights, I’m a speck
on a pinwheel spiral,
falling into the heart of a nautilus shell
where my eardrums combust into grains of sand.

Hallucinations,
I know what they are
if things that are not can be filed and named.
If you’ve lived one, you’ve felt it

taking your brain and strangling it
’til humor turns to horror,
or charging lions and writhing snakes
appear as tantalizing succubi on a king-sized bed.

Deva Cumme

I want the scotch to be flowing
and the reefer to be buddingly potent
when my friends tell me I'm gaga
and ship me down the muddy river of sighs.

30 August 2004

naporhymo exercise #3

3. after "Imitation of I. F. Annensky," a poem by Anna Akhmatova:

Imitation of A. Akhmatova

And from you, my faux mother,
I turned my face. Sixteen was coming true.
You said vaguely: “You’re taking risks.”
And from then I couldn’t abide you.

Guardians take hold, set loose again,
Fond today and tomorrow freeing.
Why did I veer so wildly
to and from asylum?

Still the prison door swings wide—
No sign of bars. And here I stall.
It’s as if since my gesture of denial,
The woman has never left my side.

Oh, whoever said that a heart finds succour,
told it true: comfort is to take . . .
I’ll never comprehend, did she tithe me this
Or did she need me, too?

naporhymo

In the spirit of Nanowrimo, aka National Novel Writing Month, I hereby initiate naporhymo, national poetry rhyming-and-diming month.

Starting today, I'm going to write at least one imitation of one poem a day. I welcome fellow naporhymo players.

1. after "Nantucket," a poem by William Carlos Williams:

Hakalau

Fruit trees shade the meadow
avocado and banana

edged by green coffee—
Branches of wet beans—

Dawn dew in silver spots—
On the dark earth

worms and beetles, the skinks
zigging by, above

the sky is blueing— And the
omnivorous white ducks

2. after "Manna," a poem by James Tate:

Penance

I did regret my marriage
weeks after I agreed and months
before I wed, ignoring
unwelcome intimations
of the surely owed penance
and then a child, it was one
o’clock in the afternoon in
Somerville, Mass., I newly
waking from the punishing
damage of birth, my babe nursed,
Jesus, suckled upon my
cracked and leaking nipple and
a hole in myself dear-
ly filled, achingly, and said,
and said this one you can love.

Tomorrow, Anna Akhmatova . . .

26 August 2004

Hey

Testing the waters here.