Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Poem: an earlier version published by Umbrella in 2010

Frida Holds A White Rabbit

like a baby. She doesn't 
smile for the camera, 
as she cradles 
el conejo blanco,
como un bebe, in her arms,

the white rabbit of her longing
like the infant she never carried to term,

the fat white conejo of infidelity,
little effigy of Diego, its flat contented face
so much like his: the barren 
moonscape of his apology.

She looks tired.
She rests her head on her hand,
her mouth a small horizon in the shadows

She is thinking about the engorged 
conejo of his politics,
the fuzzy impersonality of his vision,
the little female comrades in his murals.

Where is her anger? 
Does it leap through the agave now
swift as the jackrabbit of Tehuantepec? 
Does it burn in the desert?

No because el fuego de Frida’s
resentment is gone for good.
No more galloping around here,
keeping up with the horses.
No more bites on the cheek
for you, you selfish rider!

Frida’s just plain worn out.
She’s taken el conejo back,
and she’s holding him like the baby he is.

Frida squeezes him so close
he’s short of breath. Come on,
smile for the camera, Frida. Smile,
as two crows fly above your eyes.

After the photograph: “Frida Kahlo With A White Rabbit,
Blue House, Coyoacan, Mexico City”
1949 by Hector Garcia

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Poem: previously published online by Fox Chase Review in 2009

City Just Before Dusk  

In the turning down of the day
the light folds like clean white sheets,
swagging across whole groups of buildings,

so great sections of the city glow,
bright as a Pre-Raphaelite angel’s face,
as he announces another coming of twilight.

Then stringy clouds pull everything horizontal,
fill the sky, as if the atmosphere’s
stretching itself after a cat nap,

so whole neighborhoods rub their eyes in half
tones of charcoal blue, as Vincent’s views of rain,
through the window of a Saint Rémy asylum, do.

In all of this we see night awakening
like the baby newly baptized,
and called for the first time by name.

Close by, his parents watch him
wriggle in the arms of the priest,
both of their hearts aflame.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday Poem: previously published by Philadelphia Stories in Summer 2008


Vincent understood them: the way they yield
their darkling faces to the sun,
aflame for its arcing shimmer dance
across the day’s mysterious expanse,
how big they are, how weighty, over grown,
the way they lean together in the fields,
conspiring to hold each other up, creak and groan
as their heads reach critical mass, aswarm with too much seed.

He gathered them in vases, painted
their petaled fall from grace,
bunched together, shy, askew
and awkward, out of place,
caught their surprise at being indoors,
the droop and shrug of leaves,
the way they suddenly dropped,
losing all of their color.
Too painful to paint them
riotous at the roadside in full bloom:
signs of what we were before
the crows moved in to feed.