These two beautiful books came in the mail last week. I have to post at least one poem from each, but it's hard to pick!
If My Life Were a Canvas,
It Would Be a Jackson Pollock Painty-By-Number
Imagine this: you're spread across the page
of a dream and it's morning. There was a storm
last night and the robin's eggs have scattered
across the lawn. Some broken, some not.
The sink is always full
a measure of sadness--
chipped sunflower plates
overpowering the perfect
blue delphinium teacups.
Sometimes the crows remind us, we are only ink
and paper. Puzzles to solve, silver
to seek, and when the light dims, holes appear
against the universe, in tubes of paint
gathered from the barn--
something will be stolen
from someone else's nest.
Book of ghosts.
Whispers and watermarks.
Whatever still reflects: paper;
waves, a dove suggesting God.
A crowd of drunken lovers. Newspaper
hats, new couples falling from couches and love-
seats---the pleasure remembered,
never the regret.
In middle school, I practiced
signing my father's name, for days,
filled empty sheets of paper secretly in class,
comparing his graceful autograph to the frauds.
The beginning tripped me up--the capital A--
his detail so hard to copy: the tight flourish
of ink just before the first downstroke of the pen.
Because I worried over penmanship, because,
like him, I favored an unfinished cursive,
I watched my forgeries lean toward the real thing
before endorsing the backs of his V.A. checks,
piled up during the months he vanished into reaps
or chased fixes: Pay to the order of food to hush
our rumblings. The checks kept us
in lights and warm water.
Or the way my father
tapped his foot while playing the guitar; he kept
a different, distant beat---the one to play against.
THey lyrics he belted became wounds riding the air
and left me, the boy who wished and wept for birds,
fighting off tears so he would sing another hour.
By high school, I knew he'd left for good.
his A stayed in my hand.
It flares up in every Adam or Alinique
I write--in every love letter I end, Always yours.