The wonderful week after Disney, Nature morte & Blue, 2
[ poetry - july 05 ]
The wonderful week after Disney
am doubting nature off I-95.
These mountains, impossible.
No slag ever fell so smoothly,
no rock ever used chiaroscuro
to such startling effect.
That healthy elm must be plastic,
what with disease spread this north,
the tight, stencilled leaves curled so.
The farmer's wife, hunched and sweating
in the garden, she waves,
she must be wearing a name tag.
We pass too quickly. You must be at least
48 inches high to appreciate the clouds,
which have choreographed a marvellous number,
and we shoot into the shafts
along the lemon-yellow horizon,
past the mannequin cops straight-backed
and stiff in their long black sedans,
beyond the booth charging admission
for safe passage, for the crows I hear,
perfectly timed, bobbing black shapes
and speakers hidden in the fields.
(French for ‘still-life’; literally ‘dead nature’)
Left hand extended, the small lead man
guards a large stone heart, asks how long it's been dead,
prepares to slap it back, listening
to the sound of butter-pink tulips slowly
scraping the wall as they die downwards,
embarrassment over, just touching
the orange and apple invisibly constricted
over the weeks, returning moisture to the air,
never thanked, not even by
the skeleton clerk banging away at his undead
typewriter, the same paper captured by the platen,
no one to dust him, trapped in the act of sneezing,
which the black rabbit loves, inviting the motionless,
gathering potential in its battery, ready to dash yet
content staring beyond itself, like
the face in the grass-green frame, whose purpose
is to carry my mother into this life, dear ant,
bring her on your back, small crawling thing,
reach this teacup via the newspaper‚s
on-ramp, forage for sweets, little one,
slip between the 'y' and 's' of 'mystery.'
for William Matthews
I am thinking of the colour blue,
why it would comfort, despite the evidence:
The Blues, blue funks, blue collar, out
of the blue, she calls once in a blue moon.
It must be time to redefine blue because,
tonight, surprised, I find even the edge
of an overdue Bell Atlantic phone bill
some comfort, alongside the moonlit glow
of Milk of Magnesia deep as the Grecian sea
inside my glass, a clean and swirling blue
desiring more blue, mixing with sky,
something that likes to be dived into.
Am I down enough to enter a colour
and watch it eat, riff by riff,
the last bite of a blue plate special
in a neon-blue lit diner on a street
long fallen off the jet-blue, upper-left
star pattern of the American flag
unhappily left out in the cold and
flapping its wings to stay warm
in the vaguely iceberg-blue spotlight?
Driving the rural night, I find
my own brand of tranquillity
in the cycloramas of talk-show hosts,
in each glassed-in, flashing eye of blue static
throbbing from every farmhouse window.
The snow, solid and set for the rest
of the season, absorbs or reflects the blues
of the midnight world, and I say
damn the dictionary, the evidence,
the weather man, the travel agent.
Damn it, I am not sad.