February 14, 2007

To hotwire and hightail crosses my mind


Anselm Reyle, untitled, 2006

A Break in the Inaction
-- by Klipschutz

She left us during a recess in the Scooter Libby trial
between modules 2 and 3 of PowerPoint class,
sweeping the rest of the day’s news
off the monitor without moving a muscle.
In my way I too bowed down
before the bully pulpit of her bounty
spilling over like a template for these times,
the six-foot come to mama blonde, outrageous
as a drag queen with those pillow power looks.
Hell, she fucked a filthy rich old man to death
(unless the sight of her unmediated flesh
was all it took). When she spoke a ScreenTip
said Betty Boop. She could have made herself
useful by opening a front between the beats
of one Richard Cheney’s purblind heart
but utility was not the way she rolled
on the lost highways to heaven of her gams.
-Highways? Heaven? Gams? If you say so.
She always could cry like a kitten, right on cue,
like a B-girl from Texas expelled in tenth grade
for fighting’s idea of an ingénue,
and left us pending litigation to remember her by
and a baby with three regent wannabes.
Scooter’s on the ropes, Russert’s limping to the stand
and you’ll excuse me while I format a New Slide.

Elegy for Jane
(My student, thrown by a horse)
-- by Theodore Roethke

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,

A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her;
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing,
And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.

My sparrow, you are not here,
Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me,
Nor the moss, wound with the last light.

If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:
I, with no rights in this matter,
Neither father nor lover.

Before She Died
-- by Karen Chase

When I look at the sky now, I look at it for you.
As if with enough attention, I could take it in for you.

With all the leaves gone almost from
the trees, I did not walk briskly through the field.

Late today with my dog Wool, I lay down in the upper field,
he panting and aged, me looking at the blue. Leaning

on him, I wondered how finite these lustered days seem
to you, A stand of hemlock across the lake catches

my eye. It will take a long time to know how it is
for you. Like a dog's lifetime -- long -- multiplied by sevens.

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