Two Poems

ON RETREAT

 

The way you reconstructed the dream was telling –

to communincate its exoticism,

even though you didn’t remember many of its details,

you said was like trying to take a bath in coconut milk –

but that there was a bengal tiger and a palm tree in there somewhere

(though these may have merely been on the carton that the dream figure poured,

soaking the white bed, as she aimed for the bathtub, but missed –

her brown arm jerking as she spoke to you with a distracted smirk).

I realized then that I didn’t know you as well as I’d thought:

beneath that prosaic exterior a latent Gaugin still joked,

portraying the numeric figures that ruled the daylight

as funky nudes caught on a steamy island, ruled by rhythmic forces

who were liable to command uncontrolable frenzies in those who dared

close their eyes, surrending self-respect to the tropical trance of sleep.

Of course, most regimens of self-help advise us that it’s healthy

to go native once in a while—that the best way to iron out the kinks

is to acknowledge the inner kink, that friendly freak

who, though upsetting at first, has your best interests in mind.

Which is to say your essence, if you dare find it,

is like the juicy part of one of those serious, psychological movies:

the characters at first are perturbed when they walk into the party

where everyone is naked, except for their glowering, vaguely medieval masks —

but once these are tossed onto the velvet chaise lounge,

it’s all love, kisses and the renewal of old bonds.

 

 

 

 

 

POLAND SPRING MANDARIN ORANGE

 

a slight accent

modulates your banality

 

it’s enough to encourage me

to continue on

with the Poland Spring Experience:

 

you are an ideal:

in Plato’s world

there must be room

 

for a form

that hugs to the norm

but with a smirk

 

that the smirk is orange

in your case

is merely incidental:

 

the small thrill you provide —

what carbornates our flighty world —

is the idea that normalcy

can be somewhat funky

 

it’s a message

that hides inside many brands,

the secret to their animation —

 

what makes the surface

of our artificial world glow

 

the way neon sculpture once did

before we became bored with it

and the blank walls it hid

 

 

 

 

 

Jerome Sala’s books include Corporations Are People, Too! (forthcoming from NYQ Books), The Cheapskates (Lunar Chandelier) and Look Slimmer Instantly (Soft Skull Press). His poems and essays have appeared inThe Nation, Pleiades, Ploughshares,The Brooklyn Rail and The Best American Poetry (2005). His blog – on poetry, pop culture and everyday life, is espresso bongo: http://www.espressobongo.typepad.com

 

 

Issue #63 October 2016
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