Owl’s Eye & Snowglobe
 

1

 

One world’s sun is another world’s star.

 

In what play does the hero shake a snowglobe & snow engulfs the stage?

 

In their selfies, Caravaggio & Van Gogh are not smiling.

 

Javier Macias tells us, We are also made of the things that didn’t happen.

 

Another reminder we’re traveling in circles around the sun.

 

When you admire the intricate web, don’t forget the spider.

 

Tonight the moon is the shape & yellow of an owl’s eye.

 

The cardinal doesn’t know how red it is.

 

Her kisses in his ear, kisses he wanted to hear.

 

All the balloons left without saying goodbye.

 

 

1+1

 

You can’t lose what you never had, he said. And I thought, Yes you can.

 

My composer friend refuses to play Chopin Nocturnes at mid-day.

 

Nothing happens; many times.

 

An owl interrogates the night moon, but it’s not talking.

 

The echoing rings in the wood of the cut pine stump.

 

The never-born seem more quiet than the dead.

 

In Stoppard’s Real Thing, snow swirls in the room when a snowglobe is shaken.

 

The cardinal is as red as the bluebird is blue.

 

Sometimes I ask myself, What would I do if I were me?

 

I haven’t finished my thought, & I don’t want to.

 

 

 

 

Little Match, Pastel Blues, Einstein’s Umbrella
 

After the fire, after the house had burned to the ground,

The boy confessed saying, But it was such a little match.

 

Jupiter has 67 moons. Imagine if Earth had multiple moons—

How different our nights & poetry & mythology would be.

 

Norman Dubie reminds us, the whole pond adjusts itself

When a single stone is cast into it.

 

A double-posted sign on the street. One Way. Dead End.

Well that’s just confusing & sad, my friend said pointing to the signs.

 

I dreamed the night was a horse with its eyes shut. I wish

I’d written that line. Frank Stanford both wished & wrote it.

 

*
 

Is-You-Know-What coming? Ed said, & I thought why did he call her that?

She arrived saying, You know what? & I said, Jupiter has 67 moons.

 

Nostalgia is finding the right groove to place the stylus

For the favorite track on the spinning vinyl record.

 

We grow stronger through suffering

But not while we’re suffering.


Nina Simone’s album, Pastel Blues:

Side 1, track 4, “Trouble in Mind.”

 

We lay down together for the first time. She said, Do you know 

Anyone who will be hurt if we do this? Only you, or me, I said.

 

*

 

Which has more moons, the planet Jupiter

Or the Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath?

 

We say 50/50 & mean Maybe; we say Perhaps & mean 40/60.

I can’t think of a second line to finish this couplet.

 

We talked late into the night until we drifted off

& fell asleep with some words still in our mouths.

 

Other worlds were possible;  other worlds were likely.

A half-dome of sky as black as Einstein’s umbrella.

 

Falling night. Early chill.

Rock me in the manger of the moon.

 

 

 

Appointment, Hand in Hand, Sundial
 

Reader, what was the sexiest night of your life?

I’ll get back to you in a minute     (or two)

 

I stand in the hallway outside my office, staring at the nameplate

On the door. I wait as if I have an appointment with myself.

 

The colors in the garden today, as splendid

As the bouquet Diego gave Frieda on their first date.

 

Making love after reading Basho= Even when 

I am with her, I long to be with her.

 

The insomniac Lincoln, 1863, Washington D.C., walking

At midnight in the moonlight. Imagine the shadow he cast.

 

*

 

I take her hand in mine & say,

Guess what I’m holding in my hand.

 

I was going to procrastinate, but

I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

 

Would you prefer the texture you least desire with the flavor you

Most desire, or the flavor least desired with the texture most desired?


At night in bed, after making love, he has a propensity

For offering nocturnal admissions, delusions of candor.

 

The horse looked at me, intent & serious,

As if she were going to recite a poem.

 

*

 

I knew a shepherd in Peru who could make a sundial

Of his body & tell the time by the length & angle of his shadow.

 

More tragic than a great lost love that died,

Is a great lost love that lives.

 

There will not be a quiz, but please read two stories

By Isaak Babel: “Dante Street” & “Guy de Maupassant.”

 

Usually you can’t fix something that is broken

With something that is broken.

 

And afterward, the lovers nodded off to sleep, head to head, dream

To dream. Shhh. Hush now. Let’s not wake them.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Touch the Cactus, Penalty, Who Gets Enough Love?
 

My heart in Nevada (Gold Hill); my head in Brazil (Clarice Lispector);

My arms in Guatemala (abrazos); my dream in Spain (duende).

 

If you were a friend of Einstein & invited him to dinner,

It is said that he would do the dishes afterwards.

 

Discussing the ache & ardor in the poems of a writer we admire, I said,

He didn’t get enough love. And Caroline said, Who gets enough love?

 

I told my darling brother, I was jealous of you, because you were

The favorite, & he said, I was jealous of you because you weren’t.

 

Don’t touch the cactus, my mom says in a dream. Then I wake & re-

Member the childhood trip to Tucson, her saying, Don’t touch the cactus.

 

*

 

All of Denis Johnson’s books are about redemption & punishment=

The impossibility of living without one or the other.

 

It’s your friends you have to watch out for;

Your enemies can take care of themselves.

 

If you want a feeling for the year 1968, listen to

The Chambers Brothers recording of “Time Has come Today.”


Einstein is in the kitchen,

Rinsing soup bowels & wine glasses.

 

Watching football, hoping for a flag & the ref to say,

Fifteen yard penalty on the snapper; the center cannot hold.

 

*

 

There is a way to see in onion, said Gertrude Stein. She also said,

I do not understand about ducks

 

At the Bhutan border, the uniformed guard demanded, Do you

Have secrets? I stammered until the man behind me said, Cigarettes.

 

Found note to myself that I didn’t follow up on: it said, Ask Caroline

Who to read to learn about love. I cried, because Caroline died last year.

 

We walked arm in arm on the breezy seashore, wrapped

Around each other like two sweaters in love.

 

I pluck a sun-warmed Cherokee purple from the vine,

Take a juicy bite & say to myself, Oh, that’s what a tomato tastes like!

"Arnold's Plan" - Hollie Chastain

Gary Short lives in a country (Guatemala) that could break your heart everyday if it wanted to—it doesn’t want to. He is the author of three books of poems and has received a NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. The London-based band Wovoka Gentle take their name from the titles of two of his poems.

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