Some wag somewhere said that being a poet is all well and good, but what do you do with the other 23 ½ hours in the day? Whitman replies that you loaf and invite your soul. (Or you can lead poetry writing workshops, if you can get ‘em.)
Failing the House
So many poems I meant to write,
like so much else I meant,
walls still unpainted—Jonquil Yellow,
Fern Green—stuff still
sitting where we dropped it till
we could find for it the perfect place
we never found.
Boxes full of the past still packed
in the attic, the leaves of many autumns
clogging the gutters, this garden,
meant to be as beautiful as bountiful,
gone to seed, and weeds,
thicker every year,
choking every word.
Poeming the Nude
It’s low time we poets restaked a claim
On the nude, scouring like scouts for new
Talent on the street, handing out business cards,
Promising to make the booties of these beauties
Immortal, or at least Poemgirl of the month.
Why should painters have all the fun?
Sure, a picture’s worth a thousand words,
Beauty’s in the eye, not the ear,
Of the beholder, yadda, yadda.
But there’s sistine soot and smoke,
And paint degrades, flakes, and canvas
Rots like flesh. Remember “when
In eternal lines to time thou grow’st”?
We already excel at the blazon— brow
Of alabaster, lips of cherries, nipples
Hard and pink as pencil erasers (!), cheeks
Like “roses damask’d red and white,”
Breasts like “two young roes
That are twins, which feed among
The lilies” (?!), and that mount of love
With the cleft in the blush
Of a peach and the fuzz thereof.
Donne poemed the body of his mistress—
“oh, my America, my newfoundland,”
But wimped out at the crucial spot:
Where “my hand is set,” indeed!
I want, depraved on Parisian pernod,
To stare for hours at houris,
Catch the light just right on silken skin,
Write what i know, sure,
But also want to leer, beret
Cocked, my gaze straight and steady,
White smock stained with ink,
Easel erect and ready.
© 2017 William Greenway
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