Two Poems

Before

Auvillar, November 5

 

1.

The American poet died of head trauma
after tumbling out her window. Idiot
tried to close the shutters without Mister Long Arm.

The American died of flesh-eating bacteria
after using ancient sponges at the
artist colony kitchen.

The American died of boredom
during a long bilingual
poetry reading at the Galerie.

The American died of hippie hair
at Annie’s chic salon.
The American died of shame

after the once-over
by lycee girls.
The American died of starvation

after French grocers
refused to notice her.
The American expired

waiting for the washing machine,
though she had set it on “Eco-Rapide.”
There will be no services for the American.

There is no rabbi in Auvillar.
All the Jews were killed or hidden
during the war.

That’s no way to end a funny poem,
Dante said.
O you should know, I said,

with your laugh-a-minute
chute to the inferno,
and your narrow stairway

up the gold-tipped road.

 

 

  1. Paris, November 13-18

 

What the Jewish comic
didn’t dream was Bataclan,
blood on rue Bichat,

didn’t fathom bombs.
People
torn.

Police boats, foot
patrols, machine guns
along the jolie Seine.

Notre Dame
not anyone’s this week.
Locked. Metros closed.

“Our flight cancelled!”
Texans complained,
at the sidewalk café,

Rue Monge.
Maybe no way home.
Maybe 9/11, but

French.
All her fears
seem small now,

dated in the wake
of blasts,
129, 129,

130 carillons.
Unimagined,
What we have denied

to love
turns
wolf at the rim.

Too-human
monster.
The wolf inside. In.

 

 

 

Ode to Late Autumn, Auvillar
                               (November 4, 2015)

Yellow leaves and green river
Do not add up to song,

Do not console.
But this is not a song about

Not-having. There’s a blackbird
In gold leaves

And the bare top branches
Gleam redder

Than my lipstick.
Bluebirds sweep

Tree to tree.
Something in them knows

What’s coming.
They don’t name it frost.

They don’t moan
About missing you.

What they need they fly toward,
Like me.

If you’ll have me,
We’ll take the long way home.

 

 

 

Marilyn Kallet is the author of 17 books including The Love That Moves Me, poetry by Black Widow Press, 2013. She has co-translated Chantal Bizzini’s Disenchanted City, and translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems (Derniers poèmes d’amour) and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game (Le grand jeu). Kallet is Nancy Moore Goslee Professor of Englishat the University of Tennessee. Each spring she leads poetry workshops for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Auvillar, France.

 

Issue #56 March 2016
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