October 1, 2008

the doubters all were stunned

Ed Kamuda, Quiet Autumn Sun, 2006

Not Exactly Woody Guthrie
-- by Mark Halliday

As I lugged my luggage past the airport bar
I angled my neck to peer between drinkers
to see whether the field goal was good
in whatever game it was
because those people cared apparently
and I wanted for a second not to be too different.

Okay but also wanted to reap the benefit for a few seconds
of an image of successful performance in a ritualized activity
where skill earns unerasable points
and the swarming helmeted deniers can't quite reach you.

-- by Billy Collins

Once, two spoons in bed,
now tined forks

across a granite table
and the knives they have hired.

The Apples in Chandler's Valley
-- by Ron Padgett

The apples are red again in Chandler's Valley
—Kenneth Patchen

I figured that Chandler's Valley was a real place
but I didn't need to know where,
it was just some place with apple trees,
in America, of course,
but when it went on
"redder for what happened there"
a chill went up my spine
well maybe not a chill
but a heartbeat pause:
who dunnit?
because blood must be involved
to make those apples redder.
Then ducks and a rock
that didn't get redder. . .
You don't know what I'm talking about
unless you know this poem by Kenneth Patchen.
When I looked at it again not too far back
it didn't have the power
it had when I first read it
at seventeen
or heard him read it, rather,
on a record, but it's enough
that once it did have power,
and I am redder for what happened there.


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