Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Three-Piece Suite


Twice Nothing May Not, May Never Equal Something

The power of zero, stark conniption fits in early hours
when the night should be winding down like windows.
We each take a route that meets at a point in the middle
of the journey as prophesied. Now we know what a great
man Jimmy Carter is, soon to be was, but always great
now that those who drove him from office have turned
treasonous to the welfare and happiness of a great nation.
Zero: Reagan, father and son Bush, the progeny of Nixon,
First Zero. Did you think we were growing up out of danger
when Obama took office? What is a "stark conniption fit"
but a tea bagger getting his sac lapped at the end of a night’s
campaigning? It’s also rage, fury, sorrow–trinity of our time.
Opening the windows only lets the idiocy in. Close them.
Obama could’ve been a founding father, for all you know.

(30 October 2010)


National Brain Scan (ne MRI)

A conniption fit is an extreme form of a hissy fit.
Both are Southern and not unexampled.
Northerners milled Milwaukee like the uprooted
the week Jeffrey Dahmer was about to be found.
As you heard later, he had nothing, not just little,
to say. Midwesterners are not loquacious, true,
but this guy had been dicing every body who was
not him, cutting them up and storing the steaks
in his refrigerator stocking up for winter,
which can be very cold in the city of Milwaukee.
Now Americans cannibalize themselves, unspoken
custom venerable not only in Wisconsin and other
Midwestern locales smaller than Chicago
but, as usual, in the South. If I throw a hissy fit
I feel like I’m in Mississippi, and proceeding on
to the classic conniption I’m ineluctably a citizen
of South Carolina, where only the original fort is gone
though even now someone fires the first shot of the new
Civil War when we’re out breakfasting on hog fritters
or hominy grits, already uniform’d and suitably pissed
with how hot it is when the moment finally arrives.
It will be a spell before we reach Appomattox. Hold on.

(31 October 2010)


Scheherazade’s Libido

Nora asks if I write to summon my libido;
says my poetry makes her blush.
I tell Nora, No way I have such aspiration:
too much to do, too little time.

She folds one leg under the other.
She is going to tell a long love story,
about the playwright and the revolutionary
and how she leaves him writing plays.

Nora understands the deep version of Nora
Helmer. The way women grow younger
the more they open the closed door, turn
their backs on men who need to own them.

This Scheherazade survives the first night,
and the second night the same,
tucking one foot under her other leg
and resuming this long story of a man

who takes her away to Russia and dies,
and having published an instant classic,
Ten Days that Made a Revolution,

is honored by being buried in a Kremlin wall.

She’s just getting started. By the third night
nothing can stop her from telling the story
of how she returned to America for good
or ill, and who could say being so alive

was neither good nor ill, but a way to stay
alive, there being in this world oligarchs,
plutocrats, the jerks who want to do you in,
who don't want to hear you tell the story.

Nora, it’s no great matter if the libido falters.
Who can bring the dead back to life? Let the lover
go his way, looking for the one he is to love,
he who will always be hers the rest of their days.

(1–30 November 2010)

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