All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.
But your breath could melt a glacier at three
miles, she says, and then we might consider
the dirt under your nails, the way you slur
your sibilants, and how you seldom see
the cracked eggs in a carton, a downed tree
branch in front of you, the ripened blister
of paint in the bedroom, or your sister
lying drunk on the floor in her own pee.
Back to your armpits. Do you realize
we could bottle that aroma and make
a fortune? I inhale it and forgive
your many faults. The odor provokes sighs
and tingles, blushes I could never fake.
Ain’t love grand? Elevate those arms. Let’s live!
Never in my wildest dreams did I envision writing a poem about armpits. But the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge, and Plain Jane, the title sponsor, provided that opportunity. This first appeared here in April 2016, and was subsequently published in Algebra of Owls. Many thanks to editor Paul Vaughan for taking it.
But always keep your options unzipped and
available to whatever slips in; the snake
lives in the attic for the rodents,
but occasionally takes a fledgling peewee
from a nest near its exit, while the scorpion
generally avoids light except for those nights
when moths seem too delectable to pass up.
Our governor whistles Beethoven but switches to
the hymnal when campaigning, and I’ve announced
a need for organic zucchini when craving a craft
beer. Confession is good for the soul, except
when it’s bad for the body. “Think with words,
not with ideas,” Sontag wrote, and Williams said
“no idea but in things.” Of course he was just writing
a poem. Baking is chemistry – measure carefully –
but cook with abandon! Whoever said “keep your
friends close but your enemies closer,” slept
alone most nights, or not at all. Born in Louisiana,
I am the product of an illegal union, but which
half should be interred where? Both sun and
moon rise and set. Is anything incorruptible?
Drink everything blue. Everything.
“Never Drink Anything Blue” was drafted during the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, and appeared here in March 2016. Many thanks to Stop Dragging the Panda, who sponsored and provided the title.
In the summer I roll them from grocer to bus stop, little bonnets
affixed, cooing all the while – cantaloupe, watermelon, honey dew,
casaba, canary, sugar, you name it, they all come home with me,
in pairs or solo, snuggled tightly in blankets and ensuring
dropped-jaw, raised-eyebrow gapes from those who approach. Don’t they look just like their mother, I ask, and no one ever disagrees.
Everybody is so nice, even the teen-age boys who no longer offer up
their seats. But Damon, who recently purchased new pants to impress
Wanda-I’m-An-Attorney, enjoys whispering secrets to us. Did you
know they’re actually berries? And that some are called fruit,
others, vegetables? They’re not much good for pies, though. I just
call them “Mel,” which is funny because I know that you’re not
supposed to name something you’re going to eat, and really, I do
recognize the difference between sentient beings and plants, but
then candidate Harumph comes to mind, and how do you explain
him and his followers? When cool weather approaches, I turn to
squash. Happy acorn, the elongated, sad butternut, pumpkin. Each
holds a niche in my heart, and I love strolling down the sidewalk
with them, humming tunes, adjusting stems, planning meals.
“Strollermelon” was first drafted during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge, and was published in Quiet Letter in April 2017. Thanks to Plain Jane for providing the odd title. One never knows what’ll arise from sponsored titles!