Poetry and Other Artifacts

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Caption from the cartoon Geranium Lake Properties by Wm. Yost for April 30, 1994

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Consider the ruddy hours of June with her quaking ovens, her ignited orchids, and her young grapes thumping through the boondocks.

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The Painter

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This poem is no longer online. Look for it in my new book, The Wife of History and Other Planetary Characters.

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Today's meditation

Infinite Ann and Billie Nine both loved a boy named Sam.

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Excerpt from Answered Prayers by Truman Capote

Tea was brought by a maid, who settled the tray on a bed already burdened with drowsing cats and correspondence, books and magazines and various bibelots, especially a lot of antique French crystal paperweights—indeed, many of these precious objects were displayed on tables and on a fireplace mantel. I had never seen one before; noticing my interest, Colette selected a specimen and held its glitter against a lamp's yellow light: "This one is called The White Rose. As you see, a single white rose centered in purest crystal. It was made by the Clichy factory in 1850. All the great weights were produced between 1840 and 1900 by just three firms—Clichy, Baccarat, and St. Louis. When I first started buying them, at flea markets and other such casual places, they were not overly costly, but in the last decades, collecting them has become fashionable, a mania really, and prices are colossal. To me"—she flashed a globe containing a green lizard and another with a basket of red cherries inside it—"they are more satisfying than jewelry. Or sculpture. A silent music, these crystal universes. Now," she said, startlingly down to business, "tell me what you expect from life. Fame and fortune aside—those we take for granted." I said, "I don't know what I expect. I know what I'd like. And that is to be a grown-up person."

Colette's painted eyelids lifted and lowered like the slowly beating wings of a great blue eagle. "But that," she said, "is the one thing none of us can ever be: a grown-up person. If you mean a spirit clothed in the sack and ash of wisdom alone? Impossible. Voltaire, even Voltaire, lived with a child inside him, jealous and angry, a smutty little boy always smelling his fingers. Voltaire carried that child to his grave, as we all will to our own. The pope on his balcony... dreaming of a pretty face among the Swiss Guard. And the exquisitely wigged British judge, what is he thinking as he sends a man to the gallows? Of justice and eternity and mature matters? Or is he possibly wondering how he can manage election to the Jockey Club? Of course, men have grown-up moments, a noble few scattered here and there, and of these, obviously death is the most important. Death certainly sends that smutty little boy scuttling and leaves what's left of us simply an object, lifeless but pure, like The White Rose. Here"—she nudged the flowered crystal toward me—"drop that in your pocket. Keep it as a reminder that to be durable and perfect, to be in fact grown-up, is to be an object, an altar, the figure in a stained-glass window: cherishable stuff. But really, it is so much better to sneeze and feel human."

Copyright © 1987 Truman Capote (posthumously)

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Archaeology Most Auspicious

lcmt

This poem is no longer online. It will be included in Yeasty Peaseblossoms, Let Me Squeegee, upcoming in 2011 (or maybe 2012) from the Intaglio Galosh Press.

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Heraclitus said something about a river

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This poem is no longer online. Look for it in my new book, The Wife of History and Other Planetary Characters.

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Another Poet Here

Go read these. Go. Go.

a pencil mark on the white wall

i raise a glass to you anyway
inspector gadget

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Other Etiquettes

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This poem has been moved.

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Palmed 16

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The antique schemes of profiteers will pack the cakes into the precise umber of petrification.

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Excerpt from the first volume of Tales of the Chaluminch Quadrivium by Negin Verst

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This excerpt is no longer online. Look for it in my new book, The Wife of History and Other Planetary Characters.

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according to a consensus
of five co-conspirators
her right eye is blue
her left eye is a match

but she knows one eye
is smaller than the other
and both are the color
of a common gray rock

flecked with oxides
thirty years have passed
since she last wore a shoe
with a broken heel

she inscribes herself
readily as owner
operator general
dogsbody of the Intaglio

Galosh Studio Press
which has neither
intaglios nor presses
nor even a lone galosh

she is a woolgatherer
a dawdler
an ignoramus
an omnivore

a deficient typist

she is nine inches long
from the inside of her elbow
to the inside of her wrist
she is legged but not

bow-legged and less
saline than most people
but that could be
a misapprehension


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