[from] The Seven Deadly Sins

Wrath

 

You had always expected a sonnet from me
You’d laugh if I would talk about pantoums
Who cares what you think about this poem
You weren’t there to raise my first child were you

You’d laugh if I would talk about pantoums
And I’ll laugh when I’ll hear about your death
You weren’t there to raise my first child were you
It takes a village to know that you’re a crook

And I’ll laugh when I’ll hear about your death
I’ll make the detectives spew their coffee
It takes a village to know that you’re a crook
Let them think one day I pulled the trigger

I’ll make the detectives spew their coffee
Just like I threw your clothes on the sidewalk
Let them think one day I pulled the trigger
Or I abandoned making this a sonnet

Just like I threw your clothes on the sidewalk
Just like I called up your mother and cursed her
I abandoned making this a sonnet
Sometimes the rage just has to break the bag

Just like I called up your mother and cursed her
You had always expected a sonnet from me
Sometimes the rage just has to break the bag
Who cares what you think about this poem—

 

 

 

Pride

 

Swag cometh before a fall but at least
I got all my junk to cushion me my succulent pods
oyster shell ions the melted gold
coins of the world all this music & shit

Before a fall I always inspect my hair you can never
have enough & if you need
to have words in your tattoos we’re talking so old school
while I have to think the people I invite to my special box of treats
know already what I got to say about all kinds of heavy coming down

truth being on the half-shell and all naked
sometimes the words just pop into your head & who can un-pop them
without your head coming off too

nacre & glitter     spleen & dead swans with messed up wings & beaks
they protect their own young & drown people in rowboats who get too close
so when they stick out their tongue & hiss you only have yourself to blame

I eat only the Geisha cake the hiss on the tree the succulent shinola
I never leave home with less than perfect underwear
& if I choose to breathe you in it doesn’t matter
It’s whether our illness will go viral & children will always know our name

 

 

 

Greed

 

I don’t want to write the Great American
Novel.  I want to write the novel for which
Gravity’s Rainbow was just the first draft.

                                                                                                —The Snipe

                                                                                               

I hate Gluttony— to think
he could rival my lust.  I covet

Even the blanket of the poor, the cardboard box
Above the silver grate.  I wished I had a nickel

For every time the tired bones
lay down inside it for warmth.  Don’t even get me started

about the rich and their nickel-plated revolvers, about galaxies and stars.
Every one of them shrunk down inside my pocket

Like you will be shrunk down as well.
Like you will be shrunk down as well.

I want every toe of the sloth, every tree he touches, ever twist
Of his tongue.

I want to say it all
Before it goes without saying.

Before the words in my rival’s undeserving mouth
Become big enough to eat.

 

 

 

Gluttony

 

At thanksgiving I ate the cornucopia, the turkey
And the story of the turkey, its early days in the barnyard
As its breast grew so big from hormones it could not fly
And the farmer removed its beak so it could not peck its cousin

Along with the yams I ate the marshmallows
And with the green beans I ate the glazed dish they came in
Along with the guinea fowl I ate the small pebbles the guinea fowl eats in Africa
To help with digestion in its craw
I ate pumpkin pies and mincemeat using real souse and brains
I ate every leaf of salad and the spaces between the leaves because they too were oh
so tasty

I ate up the kindness of strangers
I ate my brother’s love and didn’t tell him I ate it
I went to confession and ate the priest

I am what I eat but who isn’t?
Even you who look at me and shake your head
Can’t help but read the next line I feed you O hypocrite I want to say
But who has time to talk
when hunger has your tongue?

 

 

 

Daniel Bourne’s books of poetry include The Household Gods and Where No One Spoke the Language as well as a collection of translations of the Polish political poet Tomasz Jastrun, On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe. Other poems currently appear in New Letters, Cimarron Review and Salmagundi, and he has also published in such journals as Plume, Ploughshares, FIELD, Guernica, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, and Tar River Poetry. He teaches in the English Department and Environmental Studies at the College of Wooster, where he edits Artful Dodge. His many trips to Poland include a graduate fellowship between Indiana University and Warsaw University in 1982-83, a Fulbright fellowship in 1985-87 for the translation of younger Polish poets, and most recently, a stay in 2013-14 for some collaborative work with Polish poets and visual writers involving environment and place.  His bilingual collaborative road-poetry project, “A Journey Between the Lands,” with Tadeusz Dziewanowski, was featured in the January 2015 issue of Plume, and his translations of another Polish poet, “The Angel’s Share:  Six Poems by Krzysztof Kuczkowski,” appeared in Plume.

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