Sunday, September 25, 2011

Write a poem called "Walla Walla, Washington"

Or Climax, Michigan.  Or Burnt Ridge, Idaho.  Hooker, OK. Embarrass, MN. The fine folks at Right Hand Pointing have put out a call for poems that use city names as their titles.  This comes after their successful two-part issue made up of poems with titles that are also the names of states. I think I'll try to take this as an assignment.  Maybe using my hometown, Mt. Clemens, Michigan. See what y'all can do with this.

Here are 15 unfortunate city names, for your potential amusement.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Later Cornell

Look up at the sun risen golden over
greystone two-flats; rest your eyes

on two windows at the corner of Clark
and Berwyn, each with one word

in white letters in the middle of the glass:
"Ballroom" and "Tango." When the world

is dimmed by nostalgia and longing,
there you will find me, said Joseph Cornell.

When you feel the smooth clasp
of an impossible obsession--ballerina,

opera star, lanky boy in tattered blue jeans
who rides your morning train, there,

says Mr. Cornell, I will be, with a scrap
of velvet, a newspaper clipping

from before the war, a cardboard cutout
of green parakeet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Someone Must've Told the Cicadas

There's a full moon tonight, and as I was walking home from seeing the movie Contagion (where you get to see Gwyneth Paltrow's skull cut open in a quite disturbing autopsy scene) the cicadas on the streets on Lincoln Square were going insane with buzzing electric song; someone must have mentioned snow to them, or at least told them about the concept of falling leaves. The swifts, meanwhile, were snacking on gnats above a local garage, and dragonflies were quite pleased with themselves in the air over Leland Avenue.

I was quite pleased with the moon, although I had nothing to do with its waxing.  Polishing the moon, that would be a job. Another thing that pleased me today was standing at a street corner and suddenly thinking of barbershops and childhood memories of haircuts.  I glanced around and realized that 20 feet away stood my local barber, and the smell of talcum powder emanating from him had induced these sense-memories. The third pleasure of the day?  An arugula and nectarine salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.