“While crystallizing the tiniest of moments, Ira’s poems remind us of time’s incessant ticking toward dreams and fictions always as true as our waking lives.” ~Erica Dawson
AUTUMN IN FLORIDA IS STRANGE AND SAD WHEN I HAVE LOST
Yellow, yellow, yellow / it eats through the leaves…
—William Carlos Williams, “Love Song”
Late November and gusts
rock the oaks to groans.
The living will find shelter:
pygmy rattlers seeking ground palms
for sleep, lizards scurrying
into thorny hiding places, armadillos
burrowing deep in suburban lawns. The heat
will lift, at last, and so will the windows
we’ve sealed shut for months.
But the living will mourn, too—the crisp leaves,
the late evening sun, the wild
vines scaling concrete walls,
now withering from cold. We will mourn
all our loses, the death of a year,
our chests closing like a snapper’s bite,
our voices, too, yellow and silent
as closed-fisted morning glories.
Our mothers told us this will pass,
this sadness, but even they are gone,
and what remains is their memory,
which fades, leaf by leaf.
We cling to a future
foggy and frigid as morning
ponds where time’s incessant
ticking will bring green
back, will bring heat
that sizzles skin and thaws the core of us.
But remember, there is a poem in every leaf,
the fall of it, its swish and sway on the current,
the inevitability of a kiss at the end.
Most daydreams are about being rescued.
Because the more I push against
this door, the more it resists,
like upstate NY wind where
once I witnessed a seagull fly
backwards and a squirrel propelled
across a street in mid-stride.
This waking life is filled
with the echoing cries of a cowbird
usurping a nest,
bullying other hatchlings
with its elongated neck and gaping
mouth, waiting for a worm from a bluebird,
who wonders why this chick sings
a different tune from the others, why
it is without color.
Dear Student, I notice you there with red-
rimmed eyes and O-mouth. I notice your
yawn, which you accentuate with a shiver.
I’m not asking you to stick with me—not
when we are discussing a poem that might
save your life, but what do I know? I’m
but a shirt and tie, a reason to drift, to
dream. Take me to where you are, friend.
I think there’s poetry there and waterfalls
and unicorns, and in the corner of your
world, a boy is chewing sweet puckering
gum and blowing a bubble that will pop
you awake in pink stickiness.
Our fictions is the apple
in our hand. Ask
us if we are happy and we will
slick our tongues with deceit.
We retreat to other realms,
sun-kissed lands of forever
peaks. We don a body not
our own, and here we fuck like pretzels
in the heart of a tornado.
What we dream is what we desire.
Rescue us, oh hazy fantasy, save
us from couches that devour,
our lackluster lovers, and place us
in the arms of gods,
whose kisses wet us
in all the right places.
Photo credit: jenny downing / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)