Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kelley White- Three Poems

Song of the Concord Coach
I never went to prison but
I spent a few nights in jail
No I never went to prison but
I spent those few nights in jail
They tried to find my lover
When they did he wouldn’t post my bail
I play over and over
The voice of a man I once loved
He’s in a smoky barroom
His voice is smoky too
And the loop says over and over
I remember the time when you. . .
I had a little dog named Fido
Her other name was Faith
Just a little dog with white fur
And dark eyes in her little face
And I let that man watch her
She never showed him any teeth
He’s outgrown his first name
You’d better call him by his last
He’s let go of his first name
He could never make it last
Got no driver’s license
Playing much too false and fast
I hear sweet voices of children
Speaking a tongue I do not know
Three rows ahead
Their mother tries to quiet them so
Nobody’ll ask where they come from
Nobody really needs to know
The blind man in the back
His white cane folded in his lap
I might ask to sit beside him
I don’t think anyone would laugh
Except the man himself
He’d know I haven’t got a chance
Two men in conversation
I catch just one or two words
I have the ‘wheelchair seat’
Quite accidentally I didn’t ask
Over my head three straps are flapping
I can’t make out their laughs
The whole bus is kneeling and embracing
Three heavy straps above my head
Everybody’s got a seat mate.
I’m alone. That man is dead
To me. He wouldn’t bail me out.
Was in somebody else’s bed.

(found poem)
Racing great John Henry, 32, euthanized at Ky. Horse Park
The gelded son of Old Bob Bowers out of Once Double won four Grade I races and
Horse of the Year honors at age 6 and 9 and collected seven Eclipse awards from 1980
through 1984.
To the end, John Henry remained cantankerous, said Cathy Robey, who runs the park’s
Hall of Champions, where the horse was stabled.
“He has always been nasty, from day one,” Robey said. “John has always had a little
attitude problem. He’s like the little guy with the chip on his shoulder. He has so many
people that would never actually touch him or get near him, but they love him.”
Your dogwind tastes of oranges and sweat.
A horse blanket on the tongue, ocean salt lit
by a bellowing moon. That red wind. That
forgetful moon. What will this lover do
about dawn? Push it back into night and feed
it darkness. Let the clock make it new. She’s
flying from her heavy shoes. His memo staring
with its stupid dull I’s. White eagle of anger—
she’ll tear it with her claws. Yes-she’ll try
harder. Yes-she’ll come to work on time.  Yes-
she’ll bow to your pretty scraped heels. Push
a bigger stone? Carry sharper knifes in
her hair? Next time you ring her she’ll have
a blizzard in her ear. You’ll know it’s headed
for you. White white white. Cold. White.
I delight in your criticism. Productivity?
As if my voice is a ball bearing to rivet in
a groove. Look,  its turning like a rock in
the purple see. I’ll praise myself. Bite your
dogwind and swallow honey. Now. Walking
to Georgia with a be in my hat. Dr. Watson OK’d
the corral and I know my gun,  Hun. I know
the clockwork in a killer’s ear. I know the roll
of ghost dice and the ointment in your hair.
So long, Balm of Gilead. Shalome. Salaam.

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA.  Her most recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

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