Saturday, September 1, 2007

Joanne Merriam


The snow lay all about, deep and crisp and even, under pewter
clouds crowning wisps of sky. Inside, incandescent lights slept,
whispering their electric hum to jewel-toned sub-tropicals.

The lingering taste of eggnog swept along your tongue as you
sank your fingertips into the greenhouse soil, slightly dry and
yielding. You were content with the Pleiades and stars of Orion
wavering through the corrugated polycarbonate, and with the
green sprays of leaves brushing the fleece of your shoulder,
though later you'd dream of bird's nest ferns and cat's whiskers,
glorybower and blue ginger, solitaire palms and star fruit.

Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel on
the outsides of the glass. Moonlight on the mistletoe fig, bull horn
acacia, Madagascar periwinkle. Coffee and citrus and cinnamon,
petals aiming for snowblindness. Through the rude wind's wild
lament and the bitter weather, this riot of buds.

The Ghost Road

Looked in maple sugar, wet asphalt, slot machines, ham sandwiches,
the jaunty slant of an eyebrow, grammar; in boatless winter lakes,
shopping malls, in the point of light that resolves into a double star,
faintly red and faintly blue. In the details. Tasted the sacrificial wine,
the whiskey, the sweet milk.

Listened to the shore birds' hesitant cries, to the bells, to the choir
on Sunday. The music moving the car so loud the engine's not necessary.

Breathed the vapours that rise from evening rivers, from hot tar,
from fresh bread, touched his skin in all its moods, felt the blood
drain from my wet palm turning the suds pink, rubbed my fingers
against beaches, against bark, against the jointed stems of polished

In memories of the smell of pickled sugar lingering on his breath
that night in early summer, in swallowing, sinking into chlorine,
smoothing linen. In secrets I've kept, in pyrite, in gold,

most of all in the sky, over and over. I can't say what I found.

Long Weekend

Great quantities of pasta consumed. Intrepid exploration of new
hairstyles. Failure to wash dishes. Trade narratives. Great quantities
of chocolate consumed. Musk of fog twirls in taxi-light. Frothy drinks
in bar. Poem quoted

incorrectly. Failure to tie cherry stem in knot with tongue. Much wit
expended on sex lives of brine shrimp. Great quantities of alcohol
consumed. Not at all moved

by the glisten and blue light on pavement.

1 comment:

Roswila said...

Nice one, that Long Weekend. Calls up memories of late weekend poetry readings in Greenwich Village bars.