There's been constant yelping
at the end of my block all week.
The male peacock runs
at the females. His splayed feathers
look like jazz hands,
but with the intensity of a man's
taut muscle. He chases after them, throwing
the weight of his plumage
and his loudest yelp, a pitiful song
more raspy bark than serenade.
From what I can tell, the females want
little to do with him as they stick
their busy beaks into soil,
no doubt gathering grub for their gang.
My house has become a shelter.
Every day one female finds solace
in the earth around our driveway.
She ducks between two cars
and a workman's van and eats
in a kind of peace. I imagine
the cars muffle the male's insistent
calls - and in this hidden corner
she can forget about his needs
for awhile and get on with her day.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Yo mama’s so ugly, she made a leopard lose his spots.
Yo mama’s so fat, when I moved to China she was still my neighbor.
Yo mama’s so dumb, she brought a spoon to the Superbowl.
Yo mama’s so slow, she lost a one-woman race.
Yo mama’s so slow, she makes a snail look like a racehorse.
Yo mama’s so dumb, she got lost in her own house.
Yo mama’s so fat, when she swam in the ocean the blue whales sang “We are Family”
Yo mama’s so ugly, she made made the sun want to leave the sky.
Yo mama’s so gorgeous, she makes roses blush.
Yo mama’s body is so perfect she turns every head round and round.
Yo mama’s so smart, she finishes your thoughts before you even know you have them.
Yo mama’s so quick, she runs circles around you.
Yo mama’s so quick, she sprints around the block twice before you know she’s gone.
Yo mama’s so smart, she knows how to find you when you’re lost.
Yo mama’s body is so perfect because she made you in it.
Yo mama’s so gorgeous, she makes the birds sing and the bees buzz.
Yo mama’s the vessel, the how and the why you’re here.
Yo mama, the first to know you.
Yo mama, once your whole world.
Yo mama, the one who’d lift a car to save you.
Yo mama, the one who’d give her arm to help you.
Yo mama, the giver, the giver, the giver, the giver.
Yo mama, a river of kindness, a river of grief.Yo mama, a woman of the deepest power, of the most radiant heart.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
My virtual life has become a series
of snarky asides, muttered non
sequiturs parlayed to the curtains,
to the wings, to the margins
of my posts - these seemingly random
synaptic connections, my logic’s
own frog-leaps, which (if read) reveal
how smart or crazy or stupid I am -
or my avatar is, excuse me, I can’t
keep track of who is whom (my
Instagram personality (#catprescott)
is a kissing cousin of my Facebook persona,
and my Twitter girl worried herself silent).
In the year was born, the octothorpe,
or # key, got its name - derived
from its eight sides (#octo) and a Native
American Olympic athlete (#JimThorpe)
who was at the center of a scandal
which now seems a rated-G, much ado
about nothing (#Shakespeare),
but must have been quite the story
if it incited creativity in the day’s
programmers. Also called a she-bang,
this hash, this pound, a symbol
with its own frequency (#tonalmusic)
a sharp, or a sound slightly higher
in pitch like a thought with an extra
bit added on like any good tangent (#tangent).
Before # meant pound - a button
pressed before moving onto the next
cue in a phone tree. Still a tipoff,
now it brings us to a communal
thought realm - all the hashtags
exist in cloud spaces alongside
others as if in a game of parallel
intellectual play, radical containers -
a technical attempt at organizing
thought, which travels at speeds
we have not begun to measure -
and the jumps, who can predict
their travel? My next one could
bring you, the reader, to feathers
or babies or carrots - and I could
show you how a carrot’s sun-dotted
center looks like an eye, an eye
that peers into your brow-twisting
thought processes, which resemble -
if anything - a collage of flight maps.
The hashtag is maybe a dot
on this map. Connect enough
and they may lead you to a poem (#poem).
Whatever it is or isn’t, may the similes
and metaphors and our attempt
to understand it all never end.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
The cabin was packed with poets,
and the pilot deemed the aircraft
unsafe for flight, so he offered to drive
us instead though the streets of Camden
and Amherst, where we tried to commune
with the ghosts of Walt and Emily - Walt,
who if alive today, would insist on being
called by no name. He who contained multitudes,
he'd one-up Prince and go by a pixelated
ampersand, which he'd give a sound
between the alphabetic beginning "ah"
and the spirit awakening "om" - which none
of us would pronounce correctly. Emily
would demand we call her Mz. Dickinson,
and she'd scold us for our waste -
a chartered plane, really, couldn’t we walk
or ride a bike? Aside from the dead ones,
mostly we talked amongst among ourselves.
We decided we should charter a small jet
to take us to living poets' houses. Each poet
would give a tour of their lives: their bookstore,
their obligatory cafe, maybe a museum or a gym -
the dots on the maps of their days - and each visit
would end at their writing desk, which we
called the distillery - where all the nectar
passed into poems. We'd all do that sighing
thing that poets do, and then we'd board
our jet, and do it again.
our jet, and do it again.
Friday, April 17, 2015
There was a time I thought
they’d never arrive. Flat
like a cardboard, a plank
of wood, the proverbial
pancake. When they did
bud, no one other than me
noticed. When full grown
they were still slight - almost
wide enough for a training
bra, forever privates in an army
of sergeants, corporals
and captains. In my 30s,
they found work as first-food
providers for my babies. My,
how they grew into soft shapes
that could be cupped and held -
more cantaloupes than apples -
big enough to fill any v-neck
or wrap dress. Sexy and functional -
24/7 workhorses, really,
for tiny mouths who were just
learning to hunt for what
they need. And I gave them
whatever I had, but at what cost?
Yes, they’re not perky, but neither
am I. A woman I once met
poolside told me to feed my babies
au natural, and then get my
ladies fixed, by which she meant
hitched back up, pulled taut
and tight back to my chest -
and maybe filled in or rounded
out because, you know, you’ll
need it. Had I been one to ever
chose elective surgery, I may
have done it, but the truth
is I don’t mind my lightly stretched
breasts, their hardened nipples
and the downward pull of their loved
skin. No longer that young, I don’t
care if my breasts don’t sit
at attention. I’ve always been prone
to wander. These days I roam
through rooms of my past,
visiting the years my children
have cycled through at space-travel
speed, and when I do this
all I can think is how we’ve made it -
with all of our parts functional
and intact - me, the babies, their dad -
and isn’t survival our first win
and final defeat? Today, my breasts
are ornamental, are memory,
time capsules, maybe, miracle
workers, yes, not beautiful, not hideous
either, just two hills in the topographyof my well-traveled body.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Cheek wrinkles, smile lines, lip
lines, furrowed brows, crow’s feet,
hyper pigmentation, spent ovaries,
empty uterus, baby-widened belly,
sagging neckline,floppy boobs
and side boobs. Although,no fault
line, this laundry list of imperfections,
of age spots and indentations, reads
like metal nails scraping a chalkboard,
like smoke held in my lungs, like mean-
girl gossip in my ear & words that stung
from the one teacher who had no vision
for my future. Shouldn't my work be known
by now? Shouldn’t my vision be clear?
Who should edit my best self & who decide
that tattoos & scars from a deep life
need alteration? Who dare mark my body in sections?Only a fool tries to erase the past with his corrections.