Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dear MapMaker's Son

Please show me the charts kept
in the secret desk compartment
in your father's study,
I promise that if they show the road
to an imaginary city or
the lover's cottage that nearly
exists in the woods we'll
depart at once,
wearing only our skin
and the clothes that rest
upon it. Show me the way
to the land of frank rabbits
or the country of cats or the place
where flocks of birds are born. Saddle
up the horses. I shall loosen
the drawstrings
of the feedbag which once had been my heart.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Scent of Paste in a Midwest Schoolroom

It is not nostalgia, this feeling you evoke, it is surety, with you I know every letter in my name, written under a hook in the coat room, the teacher calls it our "cloakroom," my name is there above my blue sweater, and also in the classroom, above a yellow cubby next to a picture of a duck. Scissors here are rounded, boxes of crayons are new, and filled with regiments of primary soldiers, I love their tin woodsman hats, and you, scent of paste in a midwest schoolroom, I hardly know whether to breath you in and then gunk up my finger and lick at your sugarless creamy appeal, or take up my blunt scissors and cut out a brown stick and cut out a green circle and so glue together my first portrait of a tree.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dear Russia,

Frank O'Hara always did love
you best, and one of my
great loves
has been Frank O'Hara,
but why should we
share you? I like snow,
and I like the early darkness,
and I think I could come

to appreciate a skylight
half-open on the top floor
of a six story walk-up, dark
bread, hard cheese, and a bowl
of borscht for supper, and I'd
look up
and hope for a glimpse of a star, but
Russia frankly
your distances frighten me and Russia
I am not fond
of vodka, or tears, oh Russia
Frank O'Hara
is one of the icons, his eyes
smudged with candle smoke,
his laughter a gang of cossacks
on vacation, three sheets
a madras bedspread and an army
blanket to the wind, they attempt to cross
the half-frozen river.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

a flame is kindling in the robin’s throat.

I have been following the work of poet Sarah Sloat for a while now.  Actually, I have been aware of her work ever since I was idly googling myself one afternoon and found she'd added one of my poems to a list of some of the best things she'd read online recently.  So she is a woman of taste and sensitivity.  But also a interesting poet herself, writing work in a voice that is quirky, adroit, charming, with a dash of earned bitterness, and heaps of smarts. She has a chapbook, In The Voice of a Minor Saint.  You can get it here.  My favorite work of hers I've read this year is a collection of prose pieces called "Attending the Tasting."  And I am not alone in my admiration, it won a Best of the Web 2010 Award. The title of this blog post is a quote from "Attending." Attend, friends.