Featured Poem: “Plus Shipping and Handling”Posted: December 1, 2012
I’m waiting to see if all these insights, these dark
Residual visions of insomnia, will burn down to
Vapor and ash that hour after dawn,
That hour when the tired sun pulls itself up
Behind the luminous maples, each leaf
Shining as if lit from within.
Already the grackles are out walking knock-kneed
Over the lawn, like a flock of philosophers
Who have laced both shoes together.
Already the dog next door, his howl halfway between
A wolf and a vacuum cleaner, is making me think
Of sprinkling poison on the pork chops.
And those early strollers in their stretch pants, squares
Circling the block, pace by again and again,
Gazelles of polyester in the first light.
With my Buddha belly and my Confucian stoop,
I can face the east from either side of
This seesaw trauma of the soul,
At one end, crisis, at the other end, Christ,
As if I didn’t have enough to do all day
Solving the mysteries of the quotidian,
Enigmas that leave me so weak I’ll need each night
Baling wire for the brain cells, and another
Martini I.V., olives flavoring the drip,
Hex of the meat-haters, curse of the smoke-chokers,
Who must have found some way to live forever
In pure fear of the flesh.
Deep in the farmlands, the good folks busy themselves,
Up with the dew and the rooster, storing the hay,
Stacking the canned corn in the root cellar.
And somewhere lovers are brushing the crumbs of wedding cake
From their sheets, mouthwash in the champagne glasses,
Aspirin in the bride’s pink hand.
Here, where the clocks conspire and the church bells
Certify the day like a notary public,
I’m wrapping my throat against
The cold gold of October, a new scarf of
Polynesian pinwheels woven in the wool,
To keep my voice warm for
Crying out at an revelations on the sidewalk,
Sudden epiphanies delivered by the fall
And paid for in pain at full price.
by Elton Glaser
Published in the 2000 Issue of Alligator Juniper