Friday, July 25, 2014

Roger Mitchell

I Wonder
Were I a fly,
would I drop down
onto the knee
of a creature
eight hundred times
my size and, there,
let the sun light
up my wings while
I rubbed two
of my hair-like
arms back and forth
against each other,
as though sharpening
the knife of life
on the pure luck
of having it?


I Wave and Give It Back

What are we to think when the petals of the rose-pink lily
peak in a gray-green claw or fang
and the stamens and pistils curl
in a cluster of gestures
not unlike the finger I was given years ago
on the New Jersey Turnpike by a sweet seven-year-old
bored in the back of her mother's wide suburban station wagon?
She probably wanted to stay home and listen to her records
or play with her mother's nail polish,
but now she had to go to Ocean City and get sand in her hair.
Being generous, I waved and gave it back.
Where is she now? Bored in Biloxi?
At the bottom of the Rappahannock?
Never use a poem for a personal grumble,
the handbook says, unless you can indict the whole
of Western Civilization along the way.
The whole of Moscow gets in line
to eat the gouged out flank of several billion
anonymous quadrupeds, mooing as they do.
Moo for the simple, unsuspecting thing.
Moo for the one who knows, as well.
It's supposed to make him gentle, the knowing,
but it makes him crazy first
and then gentle, but always with a crazy edge.
The chickadee goes zip, dee-dee, and bobs there upside down.
That man over there. No, not that one. The other one.
The one with his hand in the other man's pocket.
Have you ever seen that man before?
Have you ever been that man before?
Sumeria, it's lovely this time of year.
Ouagadougou, Yellow Knife.
They have sand in Yellow Knife, a kind of song they sing,
and on the short summer nights, you can hear
jukeboxes and broken glass,
the growl of punctured tailpipe.
Stars as big as pancakes fall out of the sky.
Nothing is lost.


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