Marilyn L. Taylor
A former copywriter who found her true calling writing deathless advertising jingles for AM radio, I am also the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin (2009 - 2010), and the author of six poetry collections. The most recent of these, titled Step on a Crack, is just out from White Violet Press (Kelsay Books.). My work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Able Muse, Light Poetry Journal, Mezzo Cammin, and Measure, and I also served for five years as a regular poetry columnist for The Writer magazine. I currently live in Madison, Wisconsin with my poet-husband Dave Scheler and an aging cat, where I continue to write, teach, and hobnob with some extraordinary poets who also call Wisconsin home.
Glass Under Glass
A guided tour of Dale Chihuly’s glassworks exhibit
at the Phipps Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh
Ladies and gentlemen, what you suspect is true:
alien botanists from the Planet Vitreous
have landed, they have parked their Prisms
somewhere behind this crystalline hangar
and seized horticultural control. As you can see,
the Tropical Forest has been booby-trapped
with conglomerations of twistiferies,
curling and looming like cobras--
while the Desert Room is skewered now
with purple spikes and periwinkle spindles,
humbling the resident platoons of pale saguaros.
Watch your step, please, as you pass
the Sunken Gardens, where gaping clamshells,
scarlet and cerise (possibly carnivorous)
are either yawning or trolling for trespassers
to pluck and swallow whole. Still further on,
note that a galaxy of miniature suns and planets
has been set afloat—cosmic flotsam on black,
motionless water, lit from above
by a yellow thistle’s exaggerated rays.
Go now. Thank you for coming. Spills of ribbed
and ruffled zinnias will direct you to the door.
But be forewarned: although in here the ferns
and stalks have made way for these immigrants
with their infinite variations on the literal--
the city waits outside, bathed in ordinary sun.
I’m slipping into my old age.
A shabby get-up, full of holes,
it hangs from my shoulders
like a tattered blanket.
I am a fright.
Ridiculous in these lumpy shoes—
see how my knees
poke out at wacky angles?
And look, my shins have gone
bird-thin under the veins.
tattoo my thighs, spackle
the flesh along my arms;
even these bombshell breasts
My strings are loose.
My horns blow watery
and strange. The crowd titters
as I rise for my colossal pratfall
at the last possible second.
©2017 Marilyn L. Taylor
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