Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Joseph Somoza

To Anselm Hollo

The garbage truck
pulls up, and I wonder
should I have
mentioned it?
I wonder also
at the clouds
that earlier dropped
a shower
on this back yard
and sent me
running with books
just when I was
to sit outside and
write about
returning home—
how like a fresh
it feels
to be back
in the familiar world
of things
and cats.



Nothing could be simpler
than the locust tree’s shadow
projected on the back lawn
in the morning,

the faint chirpings of finches,

your slippered feet up
on a lawn chair
in front of you,

the nearby houses empty
of people who left earlier
for work.

For the time being, no one
has a claim on anything
that might please you.

Even your calculating mind
is at rest, your wife
in her studio, your mother
in her own world miles away,
your children, brothers, and friends
assumed to be happy

The cuckoo clock chimes
ten times, and
nothing changes.  The sky
remains blue.
The doves wait on their branches
for seed from the bird feeder
to fall.


The Next Poem

Put the old poems away.  They’re
finished.  You’ve revised them
out of existence.  Only the next
poem matters, the words
that have begun appearing
on lines in your notebook
as you sit under the mulberry,
occasionally looking
at a red finch at the feeder.
A freight train howls by.  It must be that
time of morning.
And now the howling has diminished
as the train reaches the outskirts,
the outer skirts, as if town
were an old gypsy woman wearing
multiple layers.  An aberrant image
has just entered the poem,
like that dove flying by, disrupting
the poem’s unity and direction that
something in you insists on
maintaining, maybe your training in
literature at college
from the days you so wanted to
switch majors to English to be
in class with the pretty girls—
the Judy Denmans who walk in late
to class, blouse and long hair
dripping from a rainstorm.  
“Hello, thrasher.”  “Hello, sparrow.”  
The light green locust leaves this April
clash particularly with the blue during this
calm before spring winds start up.  
A thrasher pecks the sand as if he were
a sandpiper at the beach
though there are no sand crabs here
in the desert.

But there is, now, a surplus of
activity as a spring wind
begins, and you wonder how to end this
flow of words that starts up often
in the mornings,
until your coffee hunger outweighs your
curiosity to see how many lines
the words will fill before the poem’s
energy runs out—
like a baseball game gone into
extra innings, which, theoretically,
could go on forever.



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