Hear Leonard Gontarek read at the next E-Verse Equinox Reading Series event, Tuesday, September 22nd. For more information, click here.
Most of the block is up. The laundromat’s lit.
A man in a suit walking a dog.
Aikido students in light rain.
Automatic metal storefront folding.
The flower seller attending her bundles. Blue stain on her hands.
Glass faces buying time, coffee.
Imagine, striped tulips loosening in dark underground.
Nothing is final. When the train comes,
Get on board.
It seems simple on a night like this. The end of a mild Winter day, chill wind now,
Flapping whatever is loose in the dark, to understand how a boy from childhood
Wanted to mimic the rockets that shot off fireworks, and built a home-made one
That blew off three of his fingers. He is reminded of it every day.
You think of it only from time to time. You can understand
Everything fully, if that is your desire, especially on a night like this when everything is turning.
Everything comes from the taupe water, from the tongue. Knowledge. Love. I wanted to learn
Every part of you for a long time. Now, next to you,
There are white particles, tiny, adrift, in the dark.
The doctor questioned you about the dream. At least you thought she was a doctor.
She had a clipboard. She clicked a string of pearls that rested on her sweater and breasts.
How beautiful the afternoon dissolving into dusk outside the twentieth story. How could
You tell her all you could remember was a snapshot
(Pinned to the wall, that played no important part in the dream)
Of a nude, hand covering her sex, one of her fingers missing, or plunged into the mystery,
A pigeon feather loose on the quilt. You substituted a dream your son told you.
How you and your best friend were locked up by the police. How he and his
Mother trailed the police car. How you and your best friend could not
See the show. He and his mother trailed the police car in hopes of freeing you.
Your son furrowed his brow as he told you the dream, with more worry than
A four-year old deserves. Mmm, interesting, the doctor says. She wears dark stockings
You believe must smell like anise and earth. Half of what we eat grows
In sun, half rustles in loose dark soil. Mmm, interesting.
“Blue On Her Hands” originally appeared in The American Poetry Review and Best American Poetry, Paul Muldoon, guest editor, David Lehman, series editor.
Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems, including, Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva (2016). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and The Best American Poetry, among others. He coordinates Peace/Works, Poetry In Common, Philly Poetry Day, The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line Reading & Interview Series. He has received Poetry fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Mudfish Poetry Prize, the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award, and was a Literary Death Match Champion. His poem, 37 Photos From The Bridge, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges MotionPoems project in 2015, and was the basis for the award-winning film by Lori Ersolmaz. Leonard Gontarek is Poetry Consultant for Whitman At 200: Art and Democracy.