The white parrots disappear
and betray you.
The parrots fade into lowering cloud
cover, into the screen dropping black snow.
Cold. Fragments of dreams in which you know there were cattle and a landscape bleached to gold. Sorrow a garment you cover a sleeping child with at evening after which you know there will be a dawn, new inch of snow. A man stands in the middle of a field with a blackbird on his finger.
His heart, a small flame. His soul,
driving a green car through autumn.
His soul is a roomful of people wearing 3-D glasses.
His soul is seeing bird-flight for the first time.
His soul, none of the above.
Sometimes I really get Emily Dickinson’s deal.
I work alone.
I don’t get along with my co-workers, I know who the problem is.
How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away? CW song:
My Best Friend Ran Off With My Wife And I Miss Him.
Moonlight chips the landscape like toy swords into real warriors.
Sure that’s sad. Sure that hurts in a weird way.
Still, it’s moonlight, who am I to complain? Who would I complain to? No, really,
who is there to complain to?
There are no objects, someone said, there is the dreamed object only.
Sure that fills me a little with unease. Sure it keeps me awake.
Night is overrated anyway. Unless we’re talking about Estee Lauder’s New Advanced Night Repair.
Or the voice in the attic saying, Do you think you could come down?
They’ve made all the streets of my life One Way to discourage the prostitutes
and all I get is dizzy.
Leonard Gontarek is the author of seven books of poems, including Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva. His poems have appeared in Field, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, Fence, Poetry Northwest, American Poetry Review, Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry, and The Best American Poetry (edited by Paul Muldoon).
He coordinates Peace/Works, Poetry In Common, Philly Poetry Day, hosts The Green Line Reading & Interview Series, and is Poetry Consultant for Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy. He conducts the poetry workshop: Making Poems That Last.
His poem, “37 Photos From The Bridge,” selected by Alice Quinn, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges MotionPoems project and the basis for the award-winning film sponsored by the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.