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Poem In Your Pocket Day

Friday, June 28, 2013

Magnolia, the Lotus of Trees



Observing leaves: at first, I doubt they are persimmon—
looking at the blossoms, I doubt they are lotus.
How fortunate there are no fixed forms—
this tree has no comparison.

Hyesim

Translated by Ian Haight & T’ae-yong Ho

Friday, June 21, 2013

Merry Summer Solstice 2013! Here is to the flaming hot star above us and the Super Moon!




Doing Laundry on Sunday

So this is the Sabbath, the stillness
in the garden, magnolia
bells drying damp petticoats

over the porch rail, while bicycle
wheels thrum and the full-breasted tulips
open their pink blouses

for the hands that pressed them first
as bulbs into the earth.
Bread, too, cools on the sill,

and finches scatter bees
by the Shell Station where a boy
in blue denim watches oil

spread in phosphorescent scarves
over the cement. He dips
his brush into a bucket and begins

to scrub, making slow circles
and stopping to splash water on the children
who, hours before it opens,

juggle bean bags outside Gantsy’s
Ice Cream Parlor,
while they wait for color to drench their tongues,

as I wait for water to bloom
behind me—white foam, as of magnolias,
as of green and yellow

birds bathing in leaves—wait,
as always, for the day, like bread, to rise
and, with movement

imperceptible, accomplish everything.


***

Early Cascade

I couldn't have waited. By the time you return
it would have rotted on the vine.
So I cut the first tomato into eighths,
salted the pieces in the dusk
and found the flesh not mealy (like last year's)
or bitter,
even when I swallowed the green crown of the stem
that made my throat feel dusty and warm.

Pah. I could have gagged on the sweetness.
The miser accused by her red sums.
Better had I eaten the dirt itself
on this the first night in my life
when I have not been too busy for my loneliness—
at last, it comes.


 ***

Evening Primrose

Oenothera biennis

Early adopter, familiar of vespertine
temporal specialists, itinerants:
who said your life would be easy? Chance
encounters, chancy neighborhoods, the lean

ground nothing cultivated will possess. But you,
night-bloomer, all strings of dubious exes, loose
ends, unabashedly seedy—you need no excuse.
This is simply what you do.

Daze them with perfume, bombshell;
daylight’s gaudy attractants are nothing to you.
Instead, take moonlight to the next level; take the dunes,
parking strips, waste ground that, for the right body—well,

presents the perfect opportunity. Herb of the X
chromosome: you know stigma. You don’t care.
Wherever the ground’s disturbed, you’re there,
brash, sticky with longing, a complex

quadruply branching ripple-effect array
of balanced-lethal genes and a flair for risk.
You know why you are here, let no one say
otherwise, heterotic odalisque;

X marks the spot, and hot things happen next;
slippery, brimming inner places; oils surefire
for increasing suppleness and desire
and damn the consequences, baby;

they’re on your turf now.

 

About this poem:

"The collection from which this poem is excerpted is a riff on ancient botanical and pharmacological volumes (Theophrastus, Pliny, Galen, etc). I've always been fascinated by the echoes between the properties of herbs and trees and flowers and various human drives and patterns and experiences. Evening primrose is a weed with some unique reproductive tactics, which I found interesting because it has a long and well-vetted reputation for improving female fertility. Its unusually-shaped stigma even looks like a big X, as if the plant is advertising its usefulness for female (x-chromosome) complaints. Coincidence? Paracelsus would probably have said there's no such thing."

—Amy Greacen - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23597#sthash.wdNAqzWd.dpuf



About this poem:

"The collection from which this poem is excerpted is a riff on ancient botanical and pharmacological volumes (Theophrastus, Pliny, Galen, etc). I've always been fascinated by the echoes between the properties of herbs and trees and flowers and various human drives and patterns and experiences. Evening primrose is a weed with some unique reproductive tactics, which I found interesting because it has a long and well-vetted reputation for improving female fertility. Its unusually-shaped stigma even looks like a big X, as if the plant is advertising its usefulness for female (x-chromosome) complaints. Coincidence? Paracelsus would probably have said there's no such thing."

—Amy Greacen - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23597#sthash.wdNAqzWd.dpuf