Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poem by Mebane Robertson

Before Drifting Off
I don’t think this one is ripe yet.  Like wineberries in the clearing,
It rings a lurid taint, bitter to the tongue, hard—not ready for harvest
When they brim over red plastic pails.  I have been concerned of late
That I have not kept up with technology, that my processor is a robin
That hops three steps and cocks its head to listen for worms.  Everyone else
Seems a red hawk swapping bootlegged software and knowing how
To keep funky viruses from swamping their systems.  A subject, yes,
It would be nice to have a subject, but a purpose is the thing —
Like the waves of synchronized green lights that, if you hit them right,
Just right, let you flow down the hill to The Bottom unimpeded, like you
Are in Venice, either or, and are cutting the surf all in beauty or the other
Where the black gondolas ripple your fate while your life crumbles around you.
Youth just is, it happens—green like a melon or the ‘cush’ on Cortelyou Road
My stoner friends call the ‘kind bud’ they get from the corner boys.
Does mentioning this mean I won’t get into the more conservative journals?
But life—it’s like jumping aboard a little, marble swirled dingy and trying
To make it to the middle seat while the brackish water is waving moonlit flags—
Omens to you with all the sunken galleons gathered in the vertiginous cove.
And there are stories the guide tells you and your future ex, and she
Turns around winningly to imply the sharks curving in from the bay to find
A place to breed will have no purchase with their rows of teeth after
The flower girl sprayed stray Heaven in her wake.  Here’s the news, Hon,
Our love was devoured in spats.  We, the ones who had found
The fat wineberries bitter to the tongue.  And then—I still can’t trace how—
Everything went polarized before our eyes.  And it was hard to tell
What belonged to whom as we bickered through a swath of rye.
[click here for more poems by Mebane Robertson.]

No comments: