O.P.P. #13 — Carolyn’s witnessing…

Day 13 of National Poetry Month.

And we are looking at things that we do not want to look at…


Time Colonel



by Carolyn Forché


WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD is true. I was in his house. His wife carried
a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went   
out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the
cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over
the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English.
Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On
the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had
dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for
calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of
bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief
commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was
some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot
said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed
himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say
nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries
home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like
dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one
of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water
glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As
for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck them-
selves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last
of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some
of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the
ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.
                                                                                     May 1978
 









O.P.P. #12 — Patrick’s doors…

Day 12 of National Poetry Month.

And we are trying to find the door…

Time Traveler



by Patrick Cotter


Now is before he is born. Days of air
shaken by bees, crow song probing eaves
and quays. Maker of the future a perfect
terra-cotta tense, a tense which sings.
The absence of push in his education
was unpresaged by the door’s lack of wired
Sesame. He waits and waits for egress.
The door needs only his touch.
Its only desire is to swing. He waits
for it to open itself, as the cloud
opens for the melting press of the sun.
He is ready to rot where he leans, leaving
a breeze-blown blemish long after he has arrived.
Long before he has come into being. 
 









O.P.P. #11 — Billy’s lesson…

Day 11 of National Poetry Month.

And we are trying to understand…

Introduction to Poetry



by Billy Collins


I ask them to take a poem 
and hold it up to the light 
like a color slide 

or press an ear against its hive. 

I say drop a mouse into a poem 
and watch him probe his way out, 

or walk inside the poem’s room 
and feel the walls for a light switch. 

I want them to waterski 
across the surface of a poem 
waving at the author’s name on the shore. 

But all they want to do 
is tie the poem to a chair with rope 
and torture a confession out of it. 

They begin beating it with a hose 
to find out what it really means. 











NaPoWriMo/NaPoREADMo #10 — Following this noise



Following this noise


My wife chews 

on a crunchy cookie
	as she breathes 
		through her nose 
	next to me.


Our child turns 

a page in her journal and 
	sniffs on the futon in the studio,
		headphones playing music
	we cannot hear.


Our two friends
	
—brothers—
	on the couch and 
  		in the child’s borrowed bed, 
	both snore softly.


Traffic in the six lanes 

out front swishes and shushes 
	in the rain and occasionally 
		clump-umps on a 
	loose manhole cover. 


The washing machine 

and a jet overhead 
	in the night
		scream descendingly
	in a soft duet. 


Our new neighbors, 

still settling in, move about 
	upstairs, unsettling nothing, 
		while I lie here 
	about it all
		on such a quiet night.












Keepin' the "Po" in NaPoWriMo....