The Page is Not the Pampas

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“I’m not happy with you”, I say to my poems.

They look at me warily.

“What have we done wrong?” they say.

“You’re too well behaved. Too orderly, genteel. Way too English”

“Too English?”, they say.  “From the country that brought you Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols”

“Okay. Okay. Scrub ‘too English’.”

“So what else are we doing wrong?”

“You mince your way upon the page”

“Mince?”

“Yes. Like dainty school girls. Can’t you, like, stampede upon the page?”

“Stampede? We’re not fucking gauchos! The page is not the pampas.” they say.

“Can’t you buck, twist and beat a bit, Get a rhythm going? Get a bit of dirt on your hands?”

“You’ll have to let us out more,” they say. “You can’t keep us locked in with you at nights”.

“Hey! Where are you going?”

“Out,” they say , as they head out the door, ” to paint the the town red.”

‘Paint the town red?’ Does anyone still say that? These poems really do need to get out more.

“Okay, but make sure you’re home by twelve. Drive carefully.”

A Half-Van Gogh

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“I am getting a half -Van Gogh,” I say over the phone.

“A half -Van Gogh? What is that?”

“You know how Van Gogh lopped off his left ear after a fit of madness, or so it’s claimed?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m getting half my left ear, the lobe lopped off.”

Silence.

“Why? Why would you do that?”

“It’s cancerous.”

“Oh dear.”

“You said you would love me even if I had half my face missing.”

“I know but …”

“Hello. Hello…”

Ring tone.

 

Hold Like an Apple

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Whenever I feel a poem ‘coming on’

The images flickering before me like dragonflies

In sunlight, the sentences skittering off

In the distance, I feel like Cezanne bawling out

Vollard who kept falling asleep during a pose,

“Wretch! Stay still! You’re ruining everything.

You  must hold your pose like an apple.”