1:2 | Poetry |
MAGNIFICENCE OF RAIN
I thought you had to be self-murderous or homosexual
had literary aspirations and since ambition was the main venom
young-person heart and I was as smiling-obliging as a salesman in Atlanta
if I was
after something I thought I wanted,
one day to be a lesbian.
of sex during that era was to trick men out of their indifference
them love me within twenty-four hours.
The point of sex
that era was to make men bow down to the princess I thought I was
abandon their mothers and moreover their automobiles.
men to beg me to take them back
I had not abandoned them yet. I
wanted them to take me for a wife
so I could
decorate their cabins with myself in the kitchen baking bread
nude on the couch with my hair as fierce as slaughter.
woman-lover's tongue did nothing for me.
The women on this earth?
all befuddled. Even that one
so long ago—that trial lover with the petite hands
I was too magnificent for men. She
mistaken. I am just a cold body wailing my rain
all over this world.
THE MASTER GARDNER, DIES AT 50
If I have
a bird's nest in my heart, it is not made of fig leaves,
I have never seen a fig tree as such flora won't grow here
have never been anywhere else. To
imply that fig trees
this piece of Virginia would perjure me
the esteemed clubs and alliances of the malcontented homebodies
certificates of Garden Knowledge in heaven.
Xanthe for example died in January when everything was latent
what she hated, besides her husband with his pitiless theories
everyone opting for whatever they got, was the winter.
what Xanthe hated was herself for not knowing twenty years ago
come to feel about her husband the week before she decided
rather die than look at him an extra second, since being young was passˇ
impossible, like the quilt her mother never gave her,
matched exactly in shape and color the antique locket
also never gave her, since he just walked out one day
came back. If I have a bird's
nest in my heart, it is not even made
vine, though we planted wisteria out back against the fence,
in other words, a Spanish-style manor in California—
just give me and my baby some endless days of heat
this means some west coast plants so we can buy an encyclopedia
for a living the names of trees not-cypress, not-scrub-pine,
not-spruce. Or Xanthe! Xanthe would say my bird's nest heart
made of bottle caps or lost Emu hair or the torn-off scraps
compositions. Xanthe would ridicule
the whole bird's nest metaphor
entirely. She'd tell me my heart was a muscle of
buoyant bloody cells,
the spent leaf of a living thing far-off and away.
LAST LAP OF THE DAYTONA 500
Earnhardt dies, I'm standing in Uncle Doc's kitchen,
to the men put across the woe of the penalty of NASCAR.
this is the day of Ann's funeral and most of us have driven a long way
the Episcopalians in their smart white robes say all but nothing
Ann who lived among us our entire lives as we ourselves lived among us
she was also us, it seems to the men unfeasible that beyond Ann's death
now the death of Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt.
the wreck (get this) I was writhing as only I would
men were watching the race while the women prepared some casseroles.
Ann, I was writhing. Then the
knock and the spin and the splash
crash, and even if the men didn't drop their glasses and fall to their knees
you could tell that's what they were after with all their hollering.
that made me think that the empty winter trees looked like nerve endings
drove from Ann's casket and the immaculate church there below
The winter trees know there's no sense in trying to change people.
cousins, fathers, brothers: sit in your chairs all week long
the death of the great stock car racer Dale Earnhardt, if you want.
reviles instead the rubbish Episcopalians speak in small Virginia chapels
mother's sister Ann who died of a hard-working, charitable heart
downstairs in the dark Earnhardt blazed in churning spheres of counterfeit