Sue De Kelver
I can do simple:
oatmeal for breakfast,
I can find beauty in
each sunrise and sunset,
every flower in my garden,
my grandchild's face.
Removing the unwanted
is harder. How do I
ban global greed or hunger?
How do we erase war?
Convents lock their doors at night,
to keep perfection in,
the hollow sound of cold slamming steel
stopping questions before they're asked,
the brutal period coming at the end
of dogma that decrees,
It is God who is the only worthy benefactor of love.
A perfect tyrant
he sits upon his great gold throne,
a notorious father
coveting his daughters like a porno king.
He licks his chops and thumbs through a book of virgins mounted
in paper prisons,
four-cornered innocence contained
in shiny celluloid squares.
Salvation dangles from his fingers
like a watch,
a teasing bauble promised and withdrawn,
his children never free from the chains
he attaches to his love.
This father works his girls
claiming his reward in intact hymens.
A hunter of flesh
his den reeks of their captivity.
Now and then
T. A. J. 6/75
You, in your art deco bargain dress
with the flapping canaries startled pink;
Perched ravin poet with the Sassoon hair,
how swell you locked leaning
on a wrought iron rail
waiting a mind to trap and
tell your stories to:
sea captains rising
on exaggerated waves, your words
and casual connotations pitched
from your tongue, sharp forked
eyes keen on approval.
You did your best
imitation of Sand beneath a piano.
you read magnificently gestured sonnets
COCKS, the burning ltalian kind,
punctuating each perfect phrase with
organs big enough to obliterate
Byzantinc domes. I never could
get away with that! Nor sink
my teeth into your countless facts:
"How angry was your mother anyway?"
'Why she had twenty-seven birds for God’s sake!"
You filled rubber dildos
with water and froze them
in ice cube trays. Stuffer
of pig marzipans in mailboxes, giver
of gifts that suited you -
I got a unicorn and a visit.
you lighted in my woods and defoliated
my flowers, stomped
a crossing guard and startled
lavender haired ladies. Seeking confirmation
you flew away, depositing
in my hand wrinkled
copies of poems you had retyped.
The Great Pretender
I broke the rules in school
more than once
felt the sting of sister's angry ruler against my open palm
daring to engage in simple pleasures forbidden
by the sterile practitioners
of The Theology of Thou Shall Not.
I went to YMCA dances on the sly
every Tuesday from 7 to 9
folding into the arms of the boy
in the red plaid shirt.
a small animal burrowed
I inhaled the scent of his mother's iron
my breasts coming to ripeness
in the muscled cage of his wide receiver chest.
Steam rose from my Ship 'n Shore blouse
as his hands rode the crest of my rock and roll hips
covered in prickly virgin wool
standard issue for Academy girls
our hymens like our hearts
now and forever faithful
My fingers brushed the skin on his blemished neck
as we returned to primitive roots
bone on bone
we invented fire
grinding, oh yes,
as rain fell on those nineteen-fifties nights
the seent, oh yes, of lilacs staining the lavender air
as we clung
to the loveliness of innocence
for one last spin around the moon.
Listening to Beethoven's Fifth for the 57th Time
I'm driving to a poetry festival in Fort
car radio tuned to a WPR's classical station
Anders Yocom announces the next selection
Madison Symphony Orchestra with John DeMain conducting
I've heard the Fifth before, who hasn't?
I figure this must be the 57th time
The familiar start, the ascending notes
This one is a fine performance
And so it is with poetry
Niedecker's solitary plover
Murre's old men
Let me listen again and again and again
I will never tire
Didn't Know I Had One
how hard we tried
to get rid of our south side
Milwaukee way of speaking
jist git gonna gimmie
a phone call the other day
was a wrong number
when the woman called again
we chatted a moment
she was calling from Arizona
had the wrong area code
told me I sounded like
I was from Wisconsin
A raindrop bellyflops on the deck,
then three ... four ... more ... splashing down
like sparks from fireworks on the 4th.
Soon it is a Niagara.
Some will drip through the cracks
and wend their way
through fissures in the cliff
to swim into the bay below.
Others will evaporate in an emerging sun,
rise into the air to comb aboard cloud boats,
sail the sky in a companionable crowd
and begin another round of water games.
Morning Beach Walk
The sand I walk on
was once stone,
submerged in the depths.
Gentled by centuries
of flowing currents,
grain by grain,
it was pushed onto shore.
The waves still wash
that same shore now,
guiding the sand
with its tidal breath.
To you who give so freely
of seed and pulp and juice;
to you who let your skin be pricked
and sliced and cubed and peeled;
to you who stew, puree and roast;
to you of green and orange and puce;
to you who tart my tongue,
who lush my mouth,
who drip my chin,
I nod my humble thanks.
Camille Wade Maurice
wiggle with delight,
spin sun spots round and round,
twist on slender stems,
swing, flip, do the dip,
kick-flash their colors
like can-can skirts,
sway, bend bow and beckon.
I drop my rake
and two-step into the woods
to join the dance.