odds and ends and bits of summer

My excuse for not posting a poem in ages is that I have been reading, now that I have graduated and have time to do things like read just for the heck of it.  Here are some things to put on your reading list (in no particular order):

Ariel, Sylvia Plath
Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov
Full of Lust and Good Usage, Stephen Dunn
An Other, e.e. cummings (edited by Richard Kostelanetz)
Selected Poems, Wallace Stevens

Good stuff. And you know, I actually do write my own poems occasionally. I swear. This is one I wrote in Arkansas while visiting my sister:

 

One hundred degrees in the shade

 

There are too many cars
for this to be a settling place,
too much bare dirt
and cracked ground, too much
exhaust, matching the exhaustion.
I’m tired and
I don’t know why.

There, open up the doors
with the perfect panes of glass –
the notion is comforting,
the swing of it, the
silent, perfect hinges,
and outside, the smell of
chlorine in the sterile fountain,
unnaturally clean, lovely.

I watch bees flit, flower
to flower, in darkened, half-
lit gardens, under star-
light, waxing-moonlight,
porch light. I crush mosquitoes,
blood smearing on my warm limbs.
There is the rubbing screech
of cicadas, the collection
of their hollow tree-clinging
carcasses on my kitchen counter,
the white tiles all lemony under
their exoskeletons, homely and
shimmering; legs clawed, scraped,
broken, still grasping at dirt and bark;
the gleaming eyes, sightless and
beautiful for it.

The streetlights are orange and
unreal and I am an alien
on the sidewalk.
All the storefront windows see it
and reflect it back at me.
I’m blowing kisses to the mannequins,
but they are too tired to
return my careful, hopeless affection.

 

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