Russell Bennetts, editor extraordinaire (Berfrois, Queen Mob’s Tea House), interviews the Prince of the Toads for his popular series “Poets Online Talking About Coffee.” Head on over for a cup and check it out.
Below: “The Dance Lesson,” 32 x 64, oil paint and oil pastel over acrylic:
You seem to have crossed some divide, a distance between following expectations and surprising the reference books on shelves marked Must Remain in Reference Room: No Check Outs – For Scholars Only!
Those were the days of craves Dizzy and Monk and Bird ears. We never worried ears, blood pressure, what gave rise to touch, an orange scarf, blue waterfall behind bridge.
The nurse walks you to the scale, weighs you, takes yr blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. “The doctor will be with you shortly to hear yr confession,” and she leaves you alone to study the posters of the cross sectioned body pinned to the wall.
The doctor knocks and comes in dressed in stole and stethoscope, just like on TV. “I only handle venial issues. Only a specialist can give absolution. But what good is freedom that leads to wild thoughts?”
Families and individuals. Names called. An ambulance arrives. Para-techs wheel in empty stretcher, disappear into sanctuary. A fire truck appears. Six firemen walk through waiting room like a Rubik’s Cube. Two men in Texas gear waltz across the lobby.
A boy plays with the automatic door. His father. His sister figures it out. A yell and a sigh. A woman crumbles at the nurse’s counter, a Beckett ploy that gets her plenty of attention.
The sign says No Tips. I hand the parking attendant an Ace which he pockets. Good man!
The drive home.
What the Doctor said
She wanted to see my pocket notebook. “I knew you were dizzy as soon as I laid eyes on you sitting out in the lobby taking pictures of the patients, word pictures.”
In the waiting room waiting continues. Kids run around and play games, laughing. A few people look worried. A couple of folks look hurt, or hurting. A father falls asleep.
What was that she said about the skin
on his hands and forearms,
boiling on stove, “That looks bad.”
Blue dark wet orange oil damp oars drift awake
dawn dress coffee smoke brown falls upon brown
slow walk down curved sandy path to the water
empty nets sea grass tired boats in fresh tide wait.
Surf sound spooning shingling
smooth rocks growing on his arms
that opposite real rocks grow larger
with each receding tide.
He thinks about love water
work moon sleepy fog
legislated blather laughter
He’s not an especially proud man
unless provoked unnecessarily.
He has a few books on a shelf
in the kitchen he touches evenings.
He thinks severity and frequency
as all men do capacity purpose
of hymns folk songs and surf music
and silence at the end of the path.
He’s no interests but cars and guitars
stars in her eyes sand on her skin salt hair
gloss on her fingernails white
daisies between her wiggling toes.
Wave after wave forgotten fishes
swim past her hands sleeved
embraced recorded let go.
At the cannery he never did learn
to stand still that fisherman’s value
he no longer wanted his friend
who now fished a desk in Admin.
The smell of tar and turpentine as he cleaned her feet
shampoo that smelled like bubble gum
steel shavings and lead chips the plumber left behind
carob seeds rotting on fog wet boardwalk.
Ocean fish air and orange crabs on ice at wood wharf stalls
after shave and Brylcreem Saturday Night adjectives
bingo sock hop carnies and a new noun in town
cool morning breeze on an angel’s moonburned skin.