Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kelley Jean White- Two Poems

I want a 1963 red VW beetle with a nubby wayback and four-on-the-floor.
And a midwife who can calm my palpitations with peppermint and lemon.
Oh, cursed jockey-shorts and racing bikes! I could say how much I love
my car. I could say I love her wheels and her adjustable seats. Her headrests
and cupholders. Oh, her cupholders! Adaptable and wise. If only I were that
to those I love! To drive them safely to their wants and needs. To tell my truth
in the harshest light. Beneath the glare of the bathroom mirror. The glow of
porcelain and stainless steel.
A laceration would be honest pain. An amputation. A trepanation.
But I have a sadness heavier than an engine block straddling my chest.
Could you lift it with clapping and chanting? A dozen teenagers in séance circle whispering the story of my death? Child forgotten in the sound proof booth?
Lord of mercy, I’d forgotten. That was me. Three ears and not a one can hear. And a thousand blind eyes in the palm of your hands. Kiss their lashes, kiss their lids.
One tiny buzz of your breath and I breathe.
I have lost speech, I have lost logic, I have learned hope. For one moment today I saw
the supermarket shelves were forever.Shampoo. Soap. Toothpaste. A sponge
shaped like a fish. Last things I would see. Sixty-three cent counted into my palm and I’d be gone. A woman with a bag of chocolates and a bottle of shampoo. Forever.
I’m dying, don’t you see? That pain in my chest when I climb the hill. And I can’t
even remember what music was playing. I should be seeing patients today.
It’s weird to feel so guilty when I’m home sneezing and dripping
and miserable. And everyone will think it’s because I’m pissed at JP.
Well, lord, I considered being out sick—look how wishes come true.
(Be grateful it’s a small one.)
Fire, lord, children on fire! Am I losing this gift, poetry? Have
I lost it. This certainly isn’t a poem. I have a VW Passatt wagon that won’t start
and it’s piling up bills. My daughter’s Jetta’s broken too. Oh, sweet beetle, how
you fail! Will I ever write about the lies in my life? If I could see them for what they are.
For nosebleeds, drop keys down the back. For bee stings, burn with a cigarette.
Oh, darling, you can always make me cry. Or laugh. At your confusion. Both.
Do I ever listen to you? Is what I hear always in my own twisted consciousness?
Oh sweet, sweet heat of your skin. Oh if only magnetism could cure my lonely ache!
Say, sweet forgiveness, say, save the wretch, say me. And I’ll get on my knees.
He held me for nothing in his arms. And I woke to a blank sheet of paper and an empty
cup. I was dreaming. I forgot about what.
The Cat Anthropologist
twitches his tail from his observation post
behind the thornbush, fur on end,
watches dog’s grovel and leap
at the master’s voice, smooths
a paw over his own sleek coat, begins
a sunbath, watches them eat cat food from his dish–
they eat his food, but alas, he cannot stomach theirs

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