Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

(part 4 in an ongoing series)

After an evening of bad T.V. (seriously, did you see American Idol tonight? It was a hot mess), I need a little poetry to lift my spirits. This week, I'm going to go with a poem by someone I went to college with who is doing quite well making a living as a poet. Her name is Dora Malech and she's my age, which is both intimidating and inspiring. Her poems have appeared in The Yale Review, The New Yorker, and Emerson's own literary journal, Redivider.

I love this poem, "Push Pull," because of how it plays with sound. The more times I read it, the more things I discover. She's really expanding within the couplet form and doing amazing things with rhythm and rhyme. I hope you like it!

Push Pull

Coughed and called what bled the quick.
One kick, one trick, one act, one hit.

Called the troops less precious few.
To lift a fist and strike a deal.

To best the jester, cheek to lodestone.
Not rising was occasion of its own.

Spring brought a stiff rain of prostheses,
the storm's black eye on our procession

draped in lace, hook, line and I do.
Meant charred limbs, rest in pieces.

Meant long time came and none too quiet.
Then, too quiet beneath the birthing

of new galaxies, the nebula's
dark arms of dust. Sun smoldered on.

Baby's first words were friendly fire.
Chrysanthemums of copper wire.

Cat buried out back in a satin hatbox
beside my big broken, obsolete token

I'd taken to wearing on a string. Tried
to trade, but the wind wouldn't bargain, took

more than her fair share of starlings,
left me kneeling on the tarmac,

mouth full of ammo and ipecac,
strange heart in my throat, a belly of swelling.

Bells on bridles to ready for battle.
Broke those horses and there weren't any

horses left. Explosives in the hope chest.
Hawks waiting to be whistled off the fist.

Doused the dovecotes with gasoline.
Slipped the last dowels from the cask.

Couldn't we call the crash a birdbath?
Couldn't we call the coffins gift wrap?

Must have been some misunderstanding.
Shore ordered ocean but sent it back.

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