I live in Tucson with my wife Connie and volunteer with Sky Island Alliance, a regionally-based environmental organization. I am also poetry editor for Zócalo, a local arts magazine. I'm an opportunist, not a poet with a plan. Whatever catches my fancy, I write about: an engaging image, a political or environmental issue, a bit of zoology, an overheard conversation, and, of course, love, love, love. In grad school, I fell in love with Jonathan Swift. Thirty years later, I still have to rein in my satirical impulses to protect whatever is tender in my poems. Diphtheria Festival, my tenth poetry collection, is now available from Main Street Rag Publishing. My new website: jeffersoncarterverse.com .
A black-and-white moth, its golden wings bearing
hieroglyphs. I google Dipthera festiva. Did you mean
“Diphtheria Festival”? No, but thanks anyway.
Now I can’t stop imagining diphtheria victims
enjoying themselves among the party lanterns
& tents beside a dirty river while my Facebook friends
hand out lemons & instructions for making lemonade,
admiring the blue skin of the dying, their festive barking,
their bull throats & bloody noses. Yes, they call me
Mr. Negative. The vocalist knows me. I should leave
but here comes the verse I like: when you pack your bags,
you gotta pack two, one for yourself & one for your bad attitude.
Know what’s cool about Dipthera festiva, the hieroglyphic moth?
Its evasive “system,” an organ in its ear, activated by a
bat’s high-pitched note, an organ that signals its wings to spasm.
The moth survives, like all of nature’s darlings, involuntarily.
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF
© 2017 Jefferson Carter