20 March 2009

Rochelle Owens

[from Rochelle Owens's New and Selected Poems: 1961-1996, Junction, 1997]

Penobscot Bird

                         tending palpa
                 bility, outer tingling season
     wading bird, last year's, upright and red
rude up and down, against calf of the leg. super
             stitious Only showing organism
                         and the raised filthy head,
                             or back, pepped into a seed, his illusion
shot, folded into shit, seeking between soft food and
                                 a light and a lilac.
                 it is inherited of the Penobscot bird.
                                     and on the end bean meal
                           fluke, rigid like a piping teacher-bird, again
jingling, cultivated joint-worm, white chattering, pantingly,
                         excessing sex, preening
                             for inch and a half red larvae.

[excerpt from "Stimuli Graft"]

. . .

Da Vinci squares his hands

pressing the canvas coldly      his
strained thorax decodes arranges
a presentiment      sketched on a
sheet of paper I look on

water salt protein      artful
I turn this sentence into doubt space
a rim of melancholy

the old master felt a longing
subtle color through your light brown

rolled her moon-gray shoulders lazily
Lenny painted a pale yellowish red tropical

my love gallops sand Lenny benignly
draping a white cloth sketching the frontal

a depressed & inhibited prostitute
herself available coldly he advised
traces of the useless dissection sighed
Da Vinci slowly you maneuver aspects of
the atelier I came across the pattern

a pigeon stuffed into a niche flying
into it by accident slowly I abandon

you manipulate the ligament patiently
slowly you sketch preserving the sharp
edge geometrical my face looks gray
I paid a heavy debt a woman on the loose
her solemn legs under the coarse folds

peasant dress & slanting smile soft flap
of the leather sandals

the turning of my interest from
art to science

you waste the daylight

when he dissected cadavers of horses
& human beings and built flying

I comfortably sit before my work
attentive only drifting only the paint
patient slow during days angling

the slow molecular smile

during the long period      the master
occupied himself

Mona Lisa del Gioconda

the sun would not have blazed
nor the trees greened

a curious kind of derangement
and the peculiar glance

the folds of the dress

Flora said she could not bring
herself      visualizing      old age folds
& wrinkles

I say just do it coldly

New & Selected Poems, 1961-1996

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