Monday, October 27, 2008


Flagrant Self-Promotion

In response to absolutely no requests whatsoever to post some of
my own work, I'm going to anyway.  Hey, it's my blog;  deal with it.

* * *

To Shelley's Skylark:  An Autumnal Admonition

Hail to thee, blithe spirit,
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heav'n or near it
Pourest forth thy heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

It never fails:  soon as the sun's crossed south,
the autumn equinox brings on the mood
to gratify one orifice  -- the mouth,
and even poets' fancies turn to food.
Inspired thoughts no longer soar; they're stewed,
baked, roasted, broiled, sauteed, or fricasseed
in gravy rich with wine and herbs, imbued
with flavors of the vine and field, all freed
by master culinary skill to feed
the fading year's last hunger which now grows
until it overwhelms all other need:
to stuff ourselves with life, and then to doze.

So, Skylark dear, you'd best not soar with pride
this time of year; you'll end up batter-fried.

* * *
Proper Triolet Etiquette

Repeated lines must change their sense.
Shapeshifted punctuation frees
the truths held rigid, straining, tense.
Repeated lines must change; their sense
evolves to grow more rich and dense.
Such is what current use decrees.
Repeated, lines must change, their sense
shapeshifted.  Punctuation frees.

* * *

Spurlos Versunkt

The bright fuzz of the cellphone's static blurred
the most important item on your list,
or so I gathered from the bits I heard --

the batteries have died (they're what I missed
last time), so now I have to face alone
these rows of products which all coexist

in seeming sameness, and I softly groan
because I've grasped this truth:  they're not to you.
I wonder how it is I've never known

which you prefer.  I'm certain I'll renew
my vow that I learn every single thing
about you.  But, right now, what can I do?

Their mysteries these taunting sirens sing,
of Minis, Maxis, Supers, pads with wings.

* * *

Free Verse Pantoum with Parrot and Garbanzos

Shimmering faint gold,
emptied skins of garbanzos
flung into a heap
litter the white linoleum floor.

Emptied skins of garbanzos
litter the white linoleum floor,
rich thin surfaces tossed aside.

as he searches for deeper truth,
rich thin surfaces tossed aside,
slippery beauty unregarded.

As he searches for deeper truth,
I walk in to learn how,
slippery beauty unregarded;
foot-flailing, I fall.

I walk in to learn how;
I'm a sort of truthseeker, too;
foot-flailing, I fall,
victim of truth's deceitful surfaces.

I'm a sort of truthseeker, too,
flung into a heap,
victim of truth's deceitful surfaces,
shimmering faint gold.

* * *

Exchange of Sonnets Between Poet and Cat 

I:  "Lines to the Cat"

To sonnetize the cat, one needs a line
as lithe and limber as this queen herself
who sleeps within the tight coil of her spine
between two volumes on the nearby shelf
(Montaigne and Eliot, of course -- her choice
of sleeping matter which no doubt gives rise
to dreams wherein she plays with me, or, voice
a blackboard scrape, yowls as a rival flies).

But such a line must also have the strength
a Gothic arch requires to counterpoise
the fragile mass of Chartres Cathedral's length:
her stalking stance, as she responds to noise
behind the baseboard, leaps erect and mounts
dire guard, spring steel as she prepares to pounce.

II:  "If You Want Something Done Right . . . ."

I should have known:  you just can't trust a poet
to get those things that really matter right;
he'll get all inspirationy and blow it,
pursuing metaphors clear out of sight.
Sometimes, with luck, he'll catch one and strut back,
teeth bared around its dangling tail and feet;
he'll drop it on the page, give it a whack,
and wish it weren't so dead.  Some tasty treat.
But he's not much a mouser, so I'm here
to catch the truth within my own quick jaws
and show it to you as it should appear,
still living -- twitching tail and scrabbling paws.
I'll tell you this once more (this time's the last;
you ninnies have short memories):  I'm Bast.

* * *

Love Story

Creepity, freepity, 
Zardian Gormias,
native of Uranus,
fell for a squid

earthly in origin.
good for what ails you," he
moaned as she slid

suckery tentacles
deep in his apertures.
"Oooh, what you did!

Clearly you know all your
Darling, you've reached to the
seat of my id."

Quasars went quasing, and,
Zardian fell to his
hinges and bid,

"Marry me instantly,
"Mama won't let me coz
 I'm just a kid."

* * *

Lost Cause

Your mother's coming, so you've got to clean
my study?  Dearest, have you lost your mind?
My job as poet is to bring a keen,
insightful order to the mess I find
in nature's disarray; how can I bind
discordants into harmony if you
have moved my stuff?  It took me weeks to wind
the poem up you're holding in that slew
of tattered paper scraps, and this stack grew
by slow accretion until weight has pressed
the pencilled words to diamond; don't undo
this structured chaos where I work my best.

And then I said, "Your mother is a menace
to art."  So, Joe, bring me another Guinness.

* * *

Principles of Poetic Composition:  Rhyme

If you want to write in rhyme,
be prepared for sweat and grime
as you find yourself ensnared in verbal thicket
where you're chasing down a chime
to that misbegotten slime
of a word that seemed at first to be the ticket.

If you wish to soar with comet,
Must you plummet down to vomit?
That won't do, and you vow fiercely you can lick it.
At the risk you're going to bomb it,
you resolve at last on grommet;
if the critic doesn't like it, he can stick it.

For this mount is hard to climb,
and it's certainly a crime
that our language makes it hard to hit the wicket.
Why can't things that "glimmer" glime?
What the hell -- become a mime.
Point your cursor to "Delete" and quickly click it.

* * *

Drought Storm

What mercy from these clouds rolled gray as sharks
arched swirling in a rush about their prey?
Dust sketches gusts of wind with dried-blood clay
that's brayed to sterile powder by white arcs
of suns unshriven until now by dark
clouds' pardon.  Surging across the sun, they
harvest darkness; but lightning tongues its way
among them, feral:  they burn red and stark.

What mercy plummets with the slash of hail
against these stalks pale-gold with failure?  Leaves
and stems, drought-brittled, shatter, shred.  The sun
drives past the trailing edge of cloud, impales
the ice-stripped, broken gold of fields, and reives
all answer from us but the final "None."

* * *

The Man with the Blue Kazoo
(with absolutely no apologies 
whatsoever to Wallace Stevens)


He came and brought his blue kazoo
although not one had asked him to.

When conversation reached a lull,
he sprang erect and whipped it out.

"I'll play that which I wish were true;
I'll play it on my blue kazoo."

"Oh God, please, no!" they chorused out,
"not that old one-note blue kazoo;

not things exactly as you wish;
why not a tune to dance to, lad?

If not, why not things as they are?"
"My natural voice must ring out

because that's things as they should be;
I'll change what is to what I see

and know is truth so you'll know, too;
I'll play it on my blue kazoo."


The moon is feathers reflecting light
emitted by bald pheasant's eye

articulates the rats which swarm
in sewers of Jerusalem:

such is the poem, a substitute
for that which is, the failed Wahrheit,

which Dichtung shapes to fill the void
with jocular procreation.


Thus he played on the blue kazoo
endless while they restless grew.

He played a one-note waltz which seemed
just like the jig he played before

and indistinguishable from
the barcarolle that followed after.

His one-note fugue seemed just to be
the same as its preceding prelude,

and when "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
came out the same as "Scarborough Fair,"

they wrenched from him his blue kazoo
and broke it quickly quite in two.


"I must sing or die," he said.
"Then die," they answered. But, instead,

he clamped his hand upon his nose,
and, nasily reverberating

in his throat, his breath he blew
out in the song of the blue kazoo.

"Enough's enough," they all then said,
and broke his nose, and then his head.

The blessed silence brought relief;
things as they are came back to stay,

and all the group went off to bed,
to dream of polyphonic truth instead.


Down in his grave, as he decayed,
the venting gases squealed and played

the one-note song he wished were true
when he had played his blue kazoo.

For miles around, the earthworms fled,
the grass above turned brown and died,

and trees pulled up their roots and moved
from degustation in his vault.

And if you don't believe it's true,
I'll play it on my blue kazoo.

* * *

Schrodinger's Puss

Quibbity, quobbity,
Erwin J. Schrodinger,
genius and physicist,
boxed up his cat

testing his theory of
waves of the probable
rising til splat!:

choices collapsing from
crash to a certainty:
puss is squashed flat.

* * *
* * *

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Some Poems with Various Body Parts


Les mains ne trouvaient plus
De bonheur dans les poches.
-- Guillevic

No longer do the hands know
The happiness of pockets.

Sometimes they hang at the sides
Like the dead weights of a clock.

Sometimes they clench into fists
Around the neck of anger.

Formerly there wee brothers
To clasp, shoulders to rest on.

If now they unfold like maps,
All their countries seem foreign.

They dream of returning to
The dark home of the pockets.

They want to wsh themselves clen
Of the blood of old salutes,

To scrub away the perfumes
Of the flesh they have tasted.

And all that they grasp is air.
Think of the hands as breathing,

Opening, closing.  Think of
The emptiness of the hands.

-- Donald Justice

* * *

"A Woman Talks to Her Thigh"

It is only thanks to y our good looks
I can take part
in the rites of love.

Mystical ecstasies,
treasons delightful
as a crimson lipstick,
a perverse rococo
of psychological involutions,
sweetness of carnal longings
that take your breath,
pits of despair
sinking to the very bottom of the world:
all this I owe to you.

How tenderly every day I should
lash you with a whip of cold water,
if you alone allow me to possess
beauty and wisdom

The souls of my lovers
open to me in a moment of love
and I have them in my dominion.
I look as does a sculptor
on his work
as their faces snapped shut with eyelids,
martyred by ecstasy,
made dense by happiness.
I read as does an angel
thoughts in their skulls,
I feel in my hand
a beating human heart,
I listen to the words
which are whispered by one human to another
in the frankest moments of one's life.

I enter their souls,
I wander
by a road of delight or of horror
to lands as inconceivable
as the bottoms of the oceans.
Later on, heavy with treasures
I come slowly 
to myself.

O, many riches,
many precious truths
growing immense in a metaphysical echo,
many initiations
delicate and startling
I owe to you, my thigh.

The most exquisite refinement of my soul
would not give me any of those treasures
if not for the clear, smooth charm
of an amoral little animal.

-- Anna Swir
translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz & Leonard Nathan

* * *

"shoulder blades"

Named for the butcher or war:  mis-named.
Most likely wings before we landed
on this grubby patch, and shed what?

Feathered flight:  the archangel's hope for
some colloquy with the gods?  Ell-maimed,
expelled, we clothed remembrance.  Were told to.

A secret reserved, kept back, glimpsed by others
on a hot summer's day.  We all face forward,
denied our former beauty.  Sight

confined to the fleshy front.  Take off
your shirt -- what you call, your scapular.
Let me see the scars.  Taste salt on my tongue.

-- Anne Compton

* * *


Your hair, at night,
still tangled from your bath

and damp where it meshes
with the pillow, smells of shampoo

and the rusty water of the summer house,
and some sanctimony, some biblical

remnant cast down from the cross
hanging next to the rented bunk bed.

The window's open to the lake's heart
where no breeze but a dock light shines

and in the bathroom I cut my hair,
a fall, a white river, until it drops

in sheaves o the sink.
Asleep, tabulating dreams,

you send out armies of syllables
in a cloud so like cold weather

they  nearly steam in the room
whose swells are warm

with piety and little plastic toys
that gather in the corners.

How will I measure
the blood that rises and falls

under the cusp of the ear?  It isn't wings
furled against the back, it isn't

the rose leaf's beetle-eaten brocade.
Your hair, at night, caught

in shadow like so many threads
running through a waterfall,

weaves the frivolous air until
at daybreak, above a deadfall

of flies' wings clustered
in the corner of the room, you push it

away from your eyes.  Released
from captive sleep, you rise.

-- Ann Townsend

* * *

"Inhabited Liver"

I feel the wings of the eagle
Stretch wide the lips of my liver;
I feel the talons,
The iron beak,
The enormity of its hunger for life,
Its thirst for flight
With me in its talons.
And I fly.

Whoever said I was chained?

[2 November 1996]

(Note:  Sorescu was suffering from terminal liver cancer;
he died on 8 December 1996.)

-- Marin Sorescu
translated from the Romanian by Adam J Sorkin & Lidia Vianu

* * *

"Poem In Which My Legs Are Accepted"

How we have suffered each other,
never meeting the standard of magazines
or official measurements.

I have hung you from trapezes,
sat you on wooden rollers,
pulled and pushed you
with the anxiety of taffy,
and still you are yourselves!

Most obvious imperfection, blight on my fantasy life,
never to be skinny
or even hinting of the svelte beauties in history books
or Sears catalogues.
Here you are -- solid, fleshy and
white as when I first noticed you, sitting on the toilet,
spread softly over the wooden seat,
having been with me only twelve years,
as obvious as the legs of my thirty-year-old gym teacher.

O that was the year we did acrobatics in the annual gym show.
How you split for me!
One-handed cartwheels
from this end of the gymnasium to the other,
ending in double splits,
legs you flashed in blue rayon slacks my mother bought
for the occasion
and tho you were confidently swinging along,
the rest of me blushed at the sound of clapping.

How I have worried about you, not able to hide you,
embarrassed at beaches, in highschool
when the cheerleaders' slim brown legs
spread all over
the sand
with the perfection 
of bamboo.
I hated you, and still you have never given out on me.

With you
I have risen to the top of blue waves,
with you
I have carried food home as a loving gift
when my arms began un-
jelling like madrilenne.

Legs, you are a pillow,
white and plentiful with feathers for his wild head.
You are the endless scenery
behind the tense sinewy elegance of his two dark legs.
You welcome him joyfully
and dance.
And you will be the locks in a new canal between continents.
The ship of life will push out of you
and rejoice
in the whiteness,
in the first floating and rising of water.

-- Kathleen Fraser

* * *

"A Little Tooth"

Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone.  It's all

over:  she'll learn some words, she'll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail. And you,

your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
nothing.  You did, you loved, your feet
are sore.  It's dusk,  Your daughter's tall.

-- Thomas Lux

* * *


Vulva, you are the song of the little boat.
You are the moon remembering.

Vulva, you are the flutter of many soft petals.
You are the wavering, the unfolding.

Vulva, you are the clam and the leaping minnow.
You are the water of the blue stone.

Vulva, you are the whispering of the solitary dove.
You are the moth's wings opening.

Vulva, you are the open mouth of praise.
You are the cave in the silk mountain.

Vulva, you are the salt water, you are the clenching.
You are deep water, the fish in the only well.

Vulva, you are the coming, you are the return.
You are the willow leaves in the wind.

Vulva, vulva.

-- Patrick Lane

* * *

"Note to the Ophthalmologist"

The apparatus is right:
It gleams properly flushing
Now into the night
Room that shines through the seams

Of my eyeballs; screams
Of darkness don't matter:
Remember that.  whatever leans
Out of this eye is refuse

And prayer, the juice
Of retina poured from images
Only.  The steely obtuse
Conversation between

Doesn't help at all.  I mean
You Ophthalmologists are so helpless
After all.  The best you glean
From my unclothed eye

Is sight; vision is high,
Too strong and deep for the big machine:
But instruments and scientists don't lie
And my hyperopia is a gift.

What is distance now is sift
From light, draining my gut (and backward).
Distance is liquid myopia, a lift
Into metals, forms, images, cold.

The eye of the storm
Is the window of my soul.

-- Dolores Kendrick

* * *

"Spinal Cord"

Solomon's flute in elastic ivory,
the organ pipes
of the white Aurora Borealis,
the singing of dolphins and sirens,
crest of a blind

Braided white
Christmas loaf of nerves,
irregular Latin verbs
in place of mystery.

The computer's anthology of tenderness
in Pascal.

enclosed, as always,
in the black rings
of a vertebra,
a vertebra,
a vertebra,

because otherwise,
immaculate or not,
we'd all be paralyzed
right after birth.

--Miroslav Holub
translated from the Czech by David Young & Dana Habova

* * *


Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed
nose of mine!  what will you not be smelling?
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose,
always indiscriminate, always unashamed,
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedraggled
poplars:  a festering pulp on the wet earth
beneath them.  With what deep thirst
we quicken our desires
to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Can you not be decent?  Can you not reserve your ardors
for something less unlovely?  What girl will care
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways?
Must you taste everything?  Must you know everything?
Must you have a part in everything?

-- William Carlos Williams

* * *


O penis,
 apostrophe of lust,
come out of the cage
where you lie sleeping.

O snow leopard,
lithe and rare,
when you raise your head,
the birds tremble in the trees,
are struck
like wooden matches,
flames falling around you
feath er by feather.

O cock of the walk,
O proud rooster who struts his stuff,
come near.
Your comb is carnelian and brilliant,
I want to wear it in my hair,
I want to put it to my lips
and with tongue and tissue
play you
your favourite song.

O prick of delight,
O word made flesh,
I turn out all the lights
so I can hear you.

-- Lorna Crozier

* * *

"The Face"

Apart from -- under the line of the eyebrow --
a line of olive swelling as an olive swells
to a glint of cream, two round black eyes
like two black cherries and those two plucked lines

surprised to find themselves so high above her eyes
no dialogue takes place
in all that space left inbetween,

nothing, as you pass her in the street,
of her face remains

except a certain light, a clarity,
a reflection not of sun or cloud
but of an image of desire,

an image of becoming
she has placed like God in sky
and though she thinks it private, preceding her
like sun, cloud, clear to any passerby

it pours across her face, unwritten, bare,
the force of all those futures
we have in mind, had in mind
and some we failed, some we now embody:

not an inner light, not an outer
though the sky glares and her face
is turned towards the place the sun should be

(and your towards the station
with the light behind your back where motorways
span farmland, ring roads, open country)

but on her skin, an emptiness glows 
the way an empty morning
clarifies to an urgency, an image

whose name or face you do not know
but feel its tug, its urgent wish
to meet itself on paper
and by being seen, by seeing warn

the emptiness so filled with light, dream, hope
it cannot know
the worlds between

the beacon and the lines
that will get written
as they did on mine
on a face that passes in the street.

-- Mimi Khalvati

* * *


It was pheromones
snug in the dark trellis of arm hair
that finally brought me back.
Even now, when I hold your shirt to my face,
I think -- armpits -- love -- sex -- completion.

-- Laura Lush

* * *

"Brain Scan"

Be still.  When the chilling rush of liquid
fills your veins, breathe in.  As it turns to heat
deep in your bloodstream, breathe out.  The acrid
taste in your mouth is nothing.  Meadowsweet
light flushing the stark white walls as you slip
inside the machine means nothing -- a short
term shift in blood pressure time to the drip
of dye.   Since the least movement can distort

the image, forget that your cradled head
may reveal a hard secret soon, the kind
of growth you fear.  Forget the narrow bed
you're strapped to and the woman, safe behind
leaded glass, who adjusts it by remote
control.  What matters now is the subtle
shading of mass, some new darkness afloat
in the brindled brain-sea.  You must be still.

-- Floyd Skloot

* * *

"To My Bones"

In my sleep it rips through
my meagre skin
throws off the red bandage of the flesh
and goes strolling through the room
my monument a little incomplete

one can be prodigal
with tears and blood
what will endure here the longest
must be thoughtfully provided for

better (than with a priest's dry finger
to the rains which drip from a cloud of sand)
to give one's monument to the academy

they will prop it up in a glass display case
and in Latin they will pray before
the little altar made from an os frontalis

they will reckon the bones and surfaces
they will not forget not overlook

happily I will give my color of eyes
pattern of nails and curve of eyelids
I the perfectly objective
made from white crystals of anatomy

can for thoughts
heart cage
bony pile
and two shins

you my little monument not quite complete

-- Zbigniew Herbert
translated from the Polish by Alissa Valles

* * *

"Sonnet 29"

I want to do a complaint now.  Which is to say
simply that a hypertrophied prostate,
whatever women and other such novices may
choose to believe, is quite precisely not
my idea of a baba au rhum at the Chez
Paul or a Sunday morning outing with the laureate
or a grandiluminarious sunset display
over the park, etc.  Also it is somewhat 
not like strawberry shortcake.
On the contrary
it is that insidious, invidious last drip
which always waits, the inner adversary,
till I'm upzipped, helpless, and heading out, to slip
down my thigh like a seed of dying ice,
leaving a streak on my pants, which is not nice.

-- Hayden Carruth

* * *

"My Poor Skin"

It looks as if I've stretched my skin between two sticks
And gone begging with it.
Feast your eyes on it, it's a miracle, oh look:
It fought the sore and got the better of it.

It's a patch of sky
That lived through the hardest times,
Labouring in the service of
A body that attracted every sort of dust and lint,
All the evil energies.
From now on, it will be spotless, carefree,
It will enjoy
Only soft, sweet breezes
And the nightingale's song therapy.

-- Marin Sorescu
translated from the Romanian by Adam J Sorkin & Lidia Viane

* * *


I love breasts, hard
Full breasts, guarded
By a button.

They come in the night.
The bestiaries of the ancients
Which include the unicorn
Have kept them out.

Pearly, like the east
An hour before sunrise,
Two ovens of the only
Philosopher's stone
Worth bothering about.

They bring on their nipples
Beads of inaudible sighs,
Vowels of delicious clarity
For the little red schoolhouse of our mouths.

Elsewhere, solitude
Makes another gloomy entry
In its ledger, misery
Borrows another cup of rice.

They draw nearer:  Animal
Presence.  In the barn
The milk shivers in the pail.

I like to come up to them
From underneath, like a kid
Who climbs on a chair
To reach a jar of forbidden jam.

Gently, with my lips,
Loosen the button.
Have them slip into my hands
Like two freshly poured beer mugs.

I spit on fools who fail to include
Breasts in their metaphysics,
Star-gazers who have not enumerated them
Among the moons of the earth . . .

They give each finger
Its true shape, its joy:
Virgin soap, foam
On which our hands are cleansed.

And how the tongue honors
These two sour buns,
For the tongue is a feather
Dipped in egg-yolk.

I insist that a girl
Stripped to the waist
Is the first and last miracle,

That the old janitor on his deathbed
Who demands to see the breasts of his wife
For one last time
Is the greatest poet who ever lived.

O my sweet yes, my sweet no,
Look, everyone is asleep on the earth.

Now, in the absolute immobility
Of time, drawing the waist
Of the one I love to mine,
I will tip each breast
Like a dark heavy grape
Into the hive
Of my drowsy mouth.

-- Charles Simic

* * *

"Portrait of My Lover as an Ear"

I roam the world
in search of large beige ears
that comfort and uplift
the broken-hearted.

-- Selima Hill

* * *

"The Skull"

Out of my wrecked marriages
disappointments with friends
the rime time deposits
on heart, imagination

And earth's magnetic pull
downwards to the grave

I want to write poems
as clean and dry
and as impertinent
as this white skull

Found by me
outside the small boneyard
at Mithymna

That perched on a cliffedge
and grins at the sea

-- Irving Layton

* * *


I've never been one guy,
sixty billion cells!
But I get to call the shots.
Sixty billion cells,
all drunk!

-- Ko Un
translated from the Korean by Clare You & Richard Silberg

* * *

"Variation on the Origin of Flight"

Of all the body
it's the creature closest to the sea.
Snail-moist, all tuck and salty
muscle, it opens and closes
like a sea anemone.  Mute
but several tongued,
minus legs and memory,
it's what moves you
to bowl and basin,
to hollows in the stone
where water gathers after storms.
It draws you past the breakers
to the wild, its brain
is the oldest brain, prelapsarian,
soft moss and weeping fern.
Stopped on its evolutionary trail.
Beached, becalmed, stranded without
gills, scales or jewelled tail,
yet you feel it
flex and flutter
beneath your lover's tongue as feather
after slow inevitable feather
it dreams the world's
first wings.

-- Lorna Crozier

* * *

"To My Heart at the Close of Day"

At dusk light you come to bat
As Georg Trakl might put it.  How are you doing
Aside from that, aside from the fact
That you are at bat?  What balls are  you going to hit
Into the outfield, what runs will you score,
And do you think you ever will, eventually,
Bat one out of the park?  That would be a thrill
To you and your contemporaries!  Your mighty posture
Takes its stand in my chest and swing swing swing
You warm up, then you take a great step
Forward as the ball comes smashing toward you, home
Plate.  And suddenly it is evening.

-- Kenneth Koch

* * *
* * *

And in late-breaking news --

"News Flash from the Fashion Magazines"

Breasts are back!
You can see them everywhere.
On movie screens, in restaurants,
at baseball games.  You can feel  them
bump against you in the subway
like friendly spaniels.
Big as melons they bob
behind grocery carts, 
they pout under denim.
Breasts are back!
They won't stay locked up.
they shrink the space
in elevators, they leap
out of jogging bras,
find their own way
down the road, running
hand in hand.  They wave
at you from buses,
swaying around corners
and swinging back.  Oh,
how they move!  Graceful
ballerinas, a pas de deux.
They rise and fall
under your grandmother's floral apron,
they flutter under your daughter's
t-shirt, small shy sparrows
learning to fly.
Breasts are back.  On the beach
nipples peek from bikinis
as if they were eyes, wide open,
wanting to watch the sea.
Sailors rise from the Atlantic,
clutching their Mae Wests
for breasts are back.

But wait!  Not just any breasts.
A breast should not be able to support
a pencil under it.
A breast must fit into a champagne glass,
not the beer mug you raise
to your mouth on a hot summer day.
A breast must have nipples
no bigger than a dime.
A breast must be hairless,
not even one or two small hairs
for your lover to remove 
with his teeth.  A breast must bear
no stretch marks, must be smooth
as alabaster, luminous as pearls.

Enough of that!
Let's stand up for breasts
any size, any colour,
breasts shaped like kiwi fruit,
like mandolins, like pouter pigeons,
breasts playful and shameless as puppies.
Breasts that pop buttons,
breasts with rose tattoos.
Let's give them the volte.
Let's make them mayor for the day.
Let's remember our old secret
loyalties, the first words
they placed in our mouths,
the sweet warm vowels
of our mother's milk
urging us toward our lives
before we even knew our names.
Breasts are back, let's shout it,
and they're here to stay!

-- Lorna Crozier


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?