Friday, November 21, 2008

Nature (poem #1)

It can be articulated in the building blocks on Happy Street.
But to call it either happy or street, would be to award too much.
Happy is an Indian man with a liquor store, on the street
that should not be called a street at all, but something in progress,
something becoming that never becomes. A series of stones,
pounded into the dirt, and it seems—removed again—only to be
replaced. Three months, at least, three months of this apparent regression.
Happy too, is inappropriate, better suited with “Creepy” or a name such as
“Trickster,” “Swindler,” “Takes advantage of ignorant Americans.”
Instead of “Happy’s Liquor Store,” it could be named
“At Least You Think You Are Getting A Good Deal.”

The hard persimmons taste like vanilla and the soft ones
taste like sweet potatoes smell. They grow on the trees in Florence,
almost a contradiction in itself—excuse me, trees in Florence?—
Yes, they are behind the walls, like the grass at Santa Maria Novella;
surrounded by the un-building blocks. Glory can be found in something growing.

Once, a man came to dinner that resembled Lorenzo il’ Magnifico.
He had a wide greasy nose, hard brown eyes, and a giant stomach.
His wife was small and the verb, “crushing,” came to mind.
The next week Julius Caesar came over. He had a little skull and olive
skin dotted with black heads. His wife was small, her nose not large enough
to belong to Cleopatra. The women stopped eating after the second course.

At some point, Michelangelo stopped finishing his work.
They are called “Prisoners,” this romanticized idea
—figures trapped in stone—
The un-building blocks, and everyday the workers
pound forth, but there is still a pit at the end of Happy Street,
which is not really happy at all. Scaffolding, scaffolding, everywhere
like the “Prisoners,” set in stone, and these things are labeled with


Colin Welch said...

Ok. I like the narrative flow. That's cool. I also like the last stanza, although I don't understand what "Prisoners" means...if it's one work, or several, it's not really clear. I don't think the last paragraph needs to reiterate Happy street isn't happy, we already got that in the ... well, the whole poem. Also, the irony of Mick's work being incomplete and being a masterpiece could be better vergleicht mit Happy street.

The phrase "un-building blocks" fits with your usual style, but does not fit with the voice of this poem. That may just be me.

Tasha said...

Hmmm. Alright, thanks Colin. "Unbuilding blocks" does fit with my usual work, but not with this poem. I agree completely. I think I was trying to make the poem more poemy. I will revise and make it better. Thank you! So much!