photo by Dan Tappan
Some summer poems:
(Featured at VERSE|VISUAL 2018 at the Haskell-Hall House, Ipswich MA)
"People say it’s just a summer
romance . . .
And it isn’t really love at all.”
But they never
saw you on the high dive.
Or studied the shape
of your face
with your lazy
eye above your Roman nose.
Or noticed that
you had lips shaped just like Paul Newman’s.
They didn’t know
that your coy silence had been polished
by your hard
father and that I was your first soft thing.
You glowed like
the far cold rings of Saturn,
But I reached for
you anyway and you tilted on your axis
And slid towards
me on the seat of the carnival ride
And briefly we
breathed together in time.
So that over the
span of so many summers,
the loss of you
still makes me spin and dive and burn
like the pavement
at the parking lot of the town pool,
my eyes stinging with
chlorine and unkissed kisses.
"I don’t care what the people say, I
don’t really care what the people say."
and “The Dixie Cups” (Jeff Berry
& Ellie Greenwich, 1964)
Girl at the Beach
At water’s edge, arms
to catch the sound of surf tiptoeing to shore,
to hold the sea air in her glistening arms.
At her subtle direction
white birds wheel and dip and soar,
pale foam is shaped by her charms.
Oh, to be seven!
to believe in your magnetic motion
and to feel all the light of the ocean.
Photo by Cliff Eberhardt
Dream rides of unusual shape and proportion
Colors from Wonderland or Oz
With ragtops for the days we didn’t care about our hair.
More muscular than the boys who drove them
With waterfall grills and
None of them could keep up with me.
I drove a Wildcat.
At the Family Picnic
one likes the unkempt poet
Cigarette hanging from her lip,
Smoke curling past her snide eye
To her turban.
She stands up on a picnic bench to read
Dropping her pearls before uninterested relations.
A crew-cut cousin barks over his beer,
“Why don’t you get a job!”
“Why don’t you get a cupcake?” she replies.
Non sequitur is her forte.
So she takes the proletarian bus
To the square where she can be ignored by strangers.
Clutching her notebook,
She scans the used bookstore,
Trailing her bitten dirty fingers over the poetry section
Where she never expects to be found.
Emptied out, she takes the long walk home,
Hangs her hat,
Gets cleaned up
And puts a Tombstone pizza in the oven.
The Path Within This Path
This is the drug.
This is the medicine.
This is the silent cure for pain.
This is the treatment for the ache and noise and panic nobody sees.
Put your foot gently on the sand that shifts under your shoes,
Yet promises to lead you through the curled, confused designs
That make your mind jump, dip and sway.
Though the edge would drop you deeply into a darkened glade,
Keep straight and let the shivering and dappled light draw you
To signs of home along the way.
Take hold of the silver slivers of hope within your grasp.
Use your hands to shape the fountain that waters the green world.
Drink in the art of the forest.
Your weary wings can rest and find serenity and peace
Where whispering leaves sing of comfort and community
To embrace your cares and soothe you.
Did you spin all ‘round the lines of the faces you have been?
Return. Be healed as sweet air passes through sheer mandalas.
Possess the stillness with your mind.
You have found the path within this path.
photo by Dan Tappan