In 1985, while pursuing a business degree, I unhappily landed in a creative writing class and announced to the group that I thought Walt Whitman was a chain of schools throughout the United States. To my astonishment, I had found my pacing, abandoned prose, and started a poetry circle that has been meeting for 16 years. I recently published a full length book, “Luna.” through Aldrich Press and “Gertrude Stein’s Salon and Other Legends” through Blue Horse Press, thanks to Tobi and Jeff Alfier. I am the Poet in Residence at the West Milford Township Library and despite it all, love New Jersey, and have lived here almost 60 years.
Leonard Cohen Moves into Our Neighborhood
I see you walking past my porch where
surrounded by an iced latte and a pile of dead
poet’s papers, I nail another beak of sugar
skulls to the wooden crossbows of logs.
Squirrels nibble at me like I am a shrine as I hang
piñatas and feathered masks, garish
paper umbrellas and turquoise ribboned
wedding dresses. I am a scavenger like you.
It is easy to find halos in the trash. You walk
briskly by in your famous blue raincoat. To lure
you to my reading I light every candle
in the house. I am a snake uncoiling
on the porch, mindless, poised to swallow my own
tail. Squirrels climb me, giddy on sugar skeletons,
festooned women’s faces. I hunger
for what you have. I follow you, your littered
trail of words, while you jab your walking
stick into a metaphor and it unfolds like a trapeze
artist’s umbrella. Your parasol matches your raincoat
and nothing comes together on my porch.
My eyes are the wrong color for a snake.
I dream in the sun, buzzed from too many sips
of coffee and you tap the wire in your grey ballet
slippers. Your raincoat flaps behind you
like a heron. You are beholden to no one,
the joiner of no temple nor church. This poem
having accomplished little will doze into
the Sunday sunset, leaving behind
each despairing strophe, a bottle of red
Mercurochrome and few dozen bandages for squirrel
bites while like another beautiful loser
I loaf away the hours my papers instructed.
©2016 Laurie Byro
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