the wounds of anne sexton
by Jonah Meyer
anne sexton, at what point were you surprised to see the waters still
rippling in the long island sound?
anne sexton, 2 o’clock on a tuesday, august 1960, has everything
happened, or has nothing happened at all?
anne sexton, did your sun-drenched yellow dress add light upon light
under intrusion of the pock-filled hospital room ceiling, nurses and
doctors with scissors in hand, making origami of your tender pale skin?
how much for the poem, anne sexton? how much for the sea? how much
your pack of cigarettes, dangling from a sunburnt hand relaxed on the
pane of the ship, and where, by the way, is your wallet? where, your keys?
anne sexton in the age of luminous eyes!
anne sexton, composing ‘keep off!’ against the
lovely surface of the sea.
anne sexton, the good fat plump happy babies have sunk snug into their
carriages heavy like stones, and so why are you saddened, why
anne sexton says nothing at all.
is as fragile as sponge.
light as a cup of milk.
THE POETS WILL NEVER BE PUT OUT OF BUSINESS.
they have their words to keep wheeling, whispering.
have their stories always spinning.
the poets will yes inherit the world come
have their rhyme, their meter, their
the poets are now forming a corporation.
conducting business overseas.
holding late-night clandestine
get-togethers, serving white wine & chocolate biscotti & discussing
the meaning of it all.
ten dollars an hour the poets are paid.
twenty on particularly productive sessions.
bonuses each time a new poem
breathes on its own.
the poets walk the streets, shuffling like madmen,
joy burning in the eyes.
it’s funny how one might say to another:
the day is young, the season
sometimes the poets rest in tall homemade hammocks,
their gnarly raw language setting the sun.
each new break-of-day, the poets can be seen dropping
bread-crumbs to geese,
such happy animation dancing through breeze.
they hiss & they howl & they
generally carry on.
the poets speak of things which
they – indeed all hoomankind – shall
love, they moan outloud,
love is a chinese riddle!
the poets create poems on napkins,
tabletops, restaurant barstools.
(the poets have convinced themselves
graffiti is no crime)
once a new poem is borne, the poets
circumcise it, speaking a little hebrew,
careful not to cut too much.
at age 13 the poem is thrown a huge party in
which the poets get drunk &
dance into the skies.
yes the poets are really getting ahead in life.
really grasping a handle on
how much mess there is to be made.
weaving freshly-woven limericks into flower petals,
thrown to the wind, the poets take
long afternoon naps,
dreaming of eternity
– and –
the day when all
humankind will take to
writing love sonnets
sixty-one times i lost my soul to the small asian lady wearing pink cotton
jumpsuit and large copper earrings behind the counter at my favourite
place to grab lunch in san francisco chinatown
sixty-one times the colour of my true love’s hair
sixty-one the number of tics i glance at the young couple as they sink into
snuggling state of union, the movie theatre down in the dark front-corner
row, matinee showing of the life of freddie mercury
sixty-one times playing with soft language until we approximate
sixty-one calls to arm a busy nation policing the planet
a budweiser country high on box-office porn, buttered beer and
woke up this morning with poetry crusted in the eyes, tried to rinse it out
while it spilled into these dog-eared pages
sixty-one stages in pure confused delight
sixty-one flags lowered at half-mast
some small god’s wind attempting to schmear it back up
the length of the pole
sixty-one, says the city bus driver
6161 pennsylvania avenue, dripping with blood,
fangs in the eye-sockets
and kerouac’s railroad earth is drenched in sunset
and all of general georgie washington’s d.c. is drenched in heavy flooded
observe the great heavenly satellite sky hovering over every man woman
child—she is a drunken sailor, smacking chewing gum grit & grin
and the humble buddha here on earth, schvitzing heady mindful practice
at the guidance of a video rental on the subject he got for a buck-sixty-
one down at video review on lawndale boulevard
and the sea, she is whispering sixty-one
and the old-growth forests are burning alive on tee-vee sets
and sixty-one hills and valleys busy shedding their stubborn
botanical growth as the great gab-smacked goddess returns with baggies
of dust, of deceit
how does one begin to spell out mother earth?
the way we are all fashion’d from star?
glorious hydrogen oxygen calcium carbon organic,
sent spiraling spending the lonely centuries speeding thru milk the
way a baby, rocked gingerly, might burp into
some semblance of
HOW TO READ A POEM. / WHAT TO REALIZE.
1. as if your precious fucking life depends on it
2. as though, through the magic & craze & pure joyous glee
involved therein, at once nothing matters save
that freeing dance with words — broken, insane
she is a gatekeeper — the poem — and
when you come a-knocking she’ll rise & rise &
cast a heart into hot jazz graffiti
this & that informatics, baby — charged, symphonic,
this beating sweating flirting flickering
storm that is
itself the poem
knowing well every hearty morsel
4. with a newfound peace
5. for the sole purpose
being caught inside the words
Jonah Meyer is a poet, writer, and editor based in North Carolina. His creative work has been published in O.Henry Magazine, Ampersand Literary Journal, Carolina Peacemaker, Bohemian Review, American Crises, JAB Fiction and Poetry, Found Spaces, The Mountaineer, Cold Lake Anthology, Raise the Voices, and The US Review of Books, among other places. Jonah serves as associate poetry editor with Mud Season Review and associate editor with Thrush Poetry Journal.