Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Olivia Cronk, 3 poems


To be read with a calliope, birdsong, paper crinkling & on a bus, three voices

first voice:
She had never seen such swarms,
a mess of bad bees with cartoon pink lips,
a train shaking dishes in the house.
The whole place was going to seed all along,
birds had been heading in for the ever, ever,
the father dead in the body, the brother dead in the mind,
& she & the mother just laughing,
crows & panic lumped on their backsides,
where hands go in a hip-hold,
a hive of axes humming,
& weevils at dinnertime.

second voice:
Dear Sir—
The news is a re-run, so I write you from a bark canoe in my bed, shaking a bottle of aspirin as melody. What would a coyote do here? Amuse himself with collecting old ballads, printed on half-penny sheets? Find the old song-publisher? He surely, is locked up in the basement with some wicked sherry & the so luscious musk of rain books. I miss rummy & trumperies of any sort. Play assassinations in the kitchen. Tell me: If a ghost gave you a raw sweetpiece of bear meat, would you keep it in your pocket? A vulgarity, rotting & loving its dark space? The papers in my purse pockets seem to neverend. Polly is what I would name her. The purse. I endeavor to collect & preserve these fly-leaf heroes: Water King, Crazy Dazy, Rock n’ Roll Raven, Overcourteous Knight,

I am, dear sir, & you are too.

third voice:

I leave all my fingers to my shoes,
& all bugs, hoops, teeth, pill boxes, & such
to my radio & my television—wooing unto the north.

As for my legs, give them to my coats,
Arms go to my couch, torso to bed,
whereon a redbird shines & shines.

Toes & one eye to the worn nook of my floor,
the other eye to the groceries rotting,
(maiden’s lair, raven hair).

My chairs I leave to my cabinets & windows
& the shaggy bloodhound sleeping sound,
& my ears I leave to my overstuffed panty drawer.

Go, bring me some gold for my tub,
& some dapple grey for the sea-side.
This world is too rich for salt & weed.


To be read at the train station, two voices

first voice looks like this, second voice like this

Listen, it begins like this: the terrace at the hotel of Lamalou. Someone says, “He’s dead!” Then the dead man’s clerk slips a letter into my hand. Quite the testament of complaint, licked-clean confession, map to a place of great poisons. A place, I’ve heard, where fresh-as-May wasps grow green in the sun & blood as color comes to the cheeks only after much excess of laudanum & gin. The letter! It is a most shameful orgasm of the ill hand—released wickedly into the woods. When the clerk makes time with me, I am not at all prepared. His hand touches my finger when passing the epistle, & with a bit of lightning, I smell medicine on him. Snowberry. Accidental Hook. Toxic, toxic. Toxic sleeping castle. & I am flushed & cold & rotten in the pelvis. Faustian. I am a bargain-maker. A taxicab with a hooker. I am madly embroidering the bread in the kitchen of the ailing. Faking four fingers in my glove. & I’m numb at the wrist with this letter, the bite of a spell undone sitting like all get out in my jaw. If the toes were to holler up to the ears then message, message—kiss. Then ipecac. Then snapdragon tea. Dwarf’s orange orange. So sweet cyanide. The same old song. Do nurses come in haute couture, pink willow & a canary, japanimation sky behind them? A giant wooden chair forever waits the clock into the oven. Said the first ataxic: Forget nylons with seams & your junk dress in the wind. Said the second: The wallpaper has eyes to guard you with. Mmm hmm. It is the hung hard birds of the tree that soften the crack of its back. The end, hull, to give form that is you, is this to give—


My hypnotist will send smelling salts for the pigeons,

All came hither this year,
seeking adventure & making their livings.
They win their meat on days in storm,
but of course
the squirrels, gulled of their goods ‘til spring—
are skittish & swaggering at once.

We’ve a frog on the lawn
seven years old next month,
& he’s yet to swim.
No rain soon, I worry
he will turn into a long-horned toad.

Our other one wears lunettes for earrings
& watches the frost come on, a gazelle
at the steppe’s edge.

(Really: the lip of this cup drips so.)