Poetry and song and maybe culture

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Black Camellia

by Henri Cole

after Petrarch

Little room, with four and a half tatami mats
and sliding paper doors, that used to be
a white, translucent place to live in refined poverty,

what are you now but scalding water in a bath?

Little mattress, that used to fold around me
at sunrise as unfinished dreams were fading,

what are you now but a blood-red palanquin
of plucked feathers and silk airing in the sun?

Weeding the garden, paring a turnip, drinking tea
for want of wine, I flee from my secret love
and from my mind's worm—This is a poem.
Is this a table? No, this is a poem. Am I a girl?—
seeking out the meat-hook crowd I once loathed,
so afraid am I of finding myself alone.

Link Audio!
is this a table? no, this is a poem

no great feasts of delicacies sweet
are laid upon it
for the body's eager consumption

no melons, no honey, no rich, dark bread
spread thick with golden butter,
no tender roasted essence of beast or fowl,
no fish from the sea or fruit from a tree,
no sweet wines crushed
from the fullness of sun-fed grape
to tempt the taste of jaded gourmand,
or sustain the body of warrior and priest

no, this is not a table
laid out to feed our fleshly needs,
it is a poem, set full with nourishment
for every weary spirit, sustenance spread
wide, with joy for every questing heart

it is a poem, fully-laden for our feasting,
a banquet set out for all who wish to join
a celebration of the richness of our kind

by: Allen Itz

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Always unsuitable
.......................by Marge Piercy


She wore little teeth of pearls around her neck.
They were grinning politely and evenly at me.
Unsuitable they smirked. It is true

I look a stuffed turkey in a suit. Breasts
too big for the silhouette. She knew
at once that we had sex, lots of it

as if I had strolled into her diningroom
in a dirty negligee smelling gamy
smelling fishy and sporting a strawberry

on my neck. I could never charm
the mothers, although the fathers ogled
me. I was exactly what mothers had warned

their sons against.

I was quicksand
I was trouble in the afternoon. I was
the alley cat you don't bring home.

I was the dirty book you don't leave out
for your mother to see. I was the center-
fold you masturbate with then discard.

Where I came from, the nights I had wandered
and survived, scared them, and where
I would go they never imagined.

Ah, what you wanted for your sons
were little ladies hatched from the eggs
of pearls like pink and silver lizards

cool, well behaved and impervious
to desire and weather alike. Mostly
that's who they married and left.

Oh, mamas, I would have been your friend.
I would have cooked for you and held you.
I might have rattled the windows

of your sorry marriages, but I would
have loved you better than you know
how to love yourselves, bitter sisters.