Not all children are poets

Not at all children are poets, but some are.

I remember my four-year old saying, with gravelly complaint and

consternation as we rounded the last lap of tract homes from the 

neighborhood park, “It feels like there’s an elephant in my shoe.”

Those days, I was not a poet myself, so I simply took off her shoe

to see what was the matter, what was in there, a rock or a sock?

Neither of those could possibly be the size or weight of an elephant

but I skipped right over the poetry and assumed the play out of it:

She just meant that something was slowing down her gait, some

obstruction that was making her walk like an elephant, and that

full explanation did not even articulate in my mind, just swallowed

up in the patching up holes and problems, as parents are wont to do.

 

And then those hours of “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes that 

pleased and placated my tiny joy-riding song and wordsters who

pleaded, “Again” after we’d go through the entire night’s rhymes read

before bed time, and all I could think was, “What does this mean, 

‘hickory dickory dock’, mice, clocks and ‘Little Jack Horner’s plum’, 

dishes eloping with spoons and cracked “Humpty” eggs that garnered

so much respect that all the king’s horses and men came to its aid?”

My mind drifted as I sang-sung the words that were impossible to

read plainly, prosaically–meter forced down the reader’s tongue and 

bones–through history, fairy tales and folktales, lore of

cultures and small pockets of rural societies past when these words, 

rules and references made sense, all the while losing the music that 

kept my poetettes lulled to the opiate rhythms of story-song silliness.

 

Only when I noticed their wobbling knees and fatty little fingers 

opening and closing like metronomes to music I forgot to hear, the

pulse of primal iambs that beat like limbic hearts, laughter-ful, wordless 

sense, even while my lips, breath, voice, tongue and ears decoded and 

reproduced the text just as it was meant to be read–filled with 

drama, pause, whole notes and half notes, lento and allegro, 

ha-ha! loud and sh-sh soft as we three piggies word-danced, they

with their poet souls and me with my mimed mastery of lines.

Number 36

  
Tonight I raise a glass to you my long time mate on our 36th.

The reels we’ve spun can replay for decades to come, still

If we have them, for the lottery winnings pile in daily, you,

Me and this old house, decaying like two old yard cats, long

After the children have sought their own, riches strewn to 

The wind of fates, our progeny spinning their own records.

So let us look in the eyes of cheer and sound a resounding 

Reidel clink to another year’s pantomime time bound 37th

(Hurry home; the Insignia’s in the cooler heavy-breathing).

 

A Mistress Song

Marked by forever embrace

arms to mind

nose to heart,

I will never recover

a touching scent like you;

no other lover 

rapes pelvic thoughts

musks up a spell

pushes my deep

and levels a deadly wrench kiss

like hammers

to pulpy plum; 

in your leave

I hollow gourds of song

await the pine needle drop

and hum Jesus and rum.

Two Johns

Sex as mystifying exploration, conquest, delight and wonderment in the body, and women (mistresses, Mayer’s room-getting lover, presumably female?) as the object of desire, objectified, as displayed in these two writings, one from the 16th Century and one from the 21st, displays the fascination and abnegation of the object of the gaze, at once giving the object presence (Donne’s specific articles of clothing that immortalize his mistress in the words of his poem) and absence, woman/desire as concept, the object of desire without face, language or representation, just catalyst for desire, erection and egocentric absorption (Mayer’s “one thing left to do, discover me discovering you.”

To His Mistress Going to Bed
BY JOHN DONNE
Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tir’d with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven’s Zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime,
Tells me from you, that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th’hill’s shadow steals.
Off with that wiry Coronet and shew
The hairy Diadem which on you doth grow:
Now off with those shoes, and then safely tread
In this love’s hallow’d temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes, heaven’s Angels used to be
Received by men; Thou Angel bringst with thee
A heaven like Mahomet’s Paradise; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know,
By this these Angels from an evil sprite,
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,
My Mine of precious stones, My Empirie,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds, is to be free;
Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee,
As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth’d must be,
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta’s balls, cast in men’s views,
That when a fool’s eye lighteth on a Gem,
His earthly soul may covet theirs, not them.
Like pictures, or like books’ gay coverings made
For lay-men, are all women thus array’d;
Themselves are mystic books, which only we
(Whom their imputed grace will dignify)
Must see reveal’d. Then since that I may know;
As liberally, as to a Midwife, shew
Thy self: cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
There is no penance due to innocence.
To teach thee, I am naked first; why then
What needst thou have more covering than a man.

Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer

We got the afternoon
You got this room for two
One thing I’ve left to do
Discover me
Discovering you

One mile to every inch of
Your skin like porcelain
One pair of candy lips and
Your bubblegum tongue

And if you want love
We’ll make it
Swim in a deep sea
Of blankets
Take all your big plans
And break ’em
This is bound to be a while

Your body is a wonderland
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland

Something ’bout the way the hair falls in your face
I love the shape you take when crawling towards the pillowcase
You tell me where to go and though I might leave to find it
I’ll never let your head hit the bed without my hand behind it

you want love?
We’ll make it
Swim in a deep sea
Of blankets
Take all your big plans
And break ’em
This is bound to be a while

Your body is a wonderland
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland
(I’ll never speak again… I’ll use my hands)

Damn baby
You frustrate me
I know you’re mine, all mine, all mine
But you look so good it hurts sometimes

Your body is a wonderland
(I’ll never speak again… I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland
(I’ll never speak again… I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland