[two sections from a 15-section poem from Beth Ann Fennelly's Unmentionables, 2008]
Say You Waved: A Dream Song Cycle
Free will is the question, to me & most.
How much can we fault our dead dads?
If I'd allow, the AA book
would say "disease," of rage unpurple me. Confess,
JB: willed you to be a night-mayor
of the flesh?
Can I lay blame — "'42: Marries Eileen . . . '47: First infidelity . . ."?
And if I can't, how praise my stallion solely
rutting apple-munching me?
Stabled. (Sugar-cube teeth beyond the fence
have I desired? Natch. But no touch-touch.)
"Free Willie" is the question, a U.S. flick
about a whale I saw previewed in London,
where "willie" is slang for "dick."
Free Willie. Like whales the giggles breached.
Is accountability just that, some cosmic
Of your strict stanzas only nuns should speak,
& of your crumpled syntax only imbeciles
& armadillos, mystics,
children, & those who dream
of Calder mobiles piloted through wind tunnels
by angels on LSD.
In roadside Mexico a man macheted pineapple,
sprinkled it with salt & lime & hellborn chili dust.
It cost less than a buck.
Don't eat it, a fellow tourist warned, coming off the bus.
I ate it. So with your words
my lips sweetburn.
I get (ish) it. I pumped my swing at six
so hard my sneakers toed the sky. You
know, don't you,
what happened next — after the swing set's stiff legs
rocked thrice — but before I hit the ground —
[for the entire poem, go to Blackbird, Fall 2007 Vol. 6 No. 2]