My Bent Spoon
-for my boys
I am not immune (ahem)
a woman counting the cards
of her flesh upon the table, tiny
smacks, spitty fingers,
birds nest slipping left
four four four
If I could pickle smirks
five today, maybe
twelve to go, overcast
where’s your energy hidden?
one morning I saw two
blue caterpillars staring across
the covers at me. Forget
this I aged. A plow will
uprooting like this
and the bathroom door and
the mustard blood will rock
it’s a snail
shells and trails of us
leaking up the porch post
and the one noble
knighting a pet named
everything whips. Sleep
a bumper-car so
intimate, the taste
of electricity, teeth—
shake in the awning
against and against
I see still lives. Bend.
It’s impatient to watch
the redness so want it’s all
solitaire dusting the hair
the countless lose feet
like a canyon
one spoon sage
one spoon near black more
and the ears of a horsefly za-za
and the polite sneeze of women
who want to be women
the grasses are alphabetized
and the universe mapped
in silver coil, stretching
our mouth with friction
my shrub, my bent spoon
my woman darkening with the gravity
of the cards on her flesh
hold court to her boys
next will be everywhere at once
A libretto is what exactly?
Do I need to see the Pirates of Penzance after all?
Does it have something to do with freedom?
No, it’s a diminutive of book—it means “little book.”
But does it also imply amaretto flowing forth?
A pierced chin?
A dainty ornament to hold back the hair?
No, it is simply the text of an opera, or a work of musical theater—
But is it still used?
Is it rather silly now like scurvy and absinthe
and outhouses and houseboats and rickets and moonshine?
Does the author intend to lie to his audience?
Do only scoudrels write librettos?
Well, let’s see. There was Debussy and er—Strauss and Gertrude Stein in a way.
But are librettos long?
Is there any pain involved?
It sounds like a sort of curly pasta.
Well, it’s an Italian word—
Did Liberace write librettos?
The plural is actually libretti.
But I want to glue together a libretto out of blue glass and lemon meringue.
I want to wear a libretto around my neck for future chastity.
But, no, you don’t understand. Here. Listen to Die Zauberflöte and read along.
I roll chicken inside my librettos and fry them like flutes.
My libretto laughs through its nose and wears a beret.
But you must pay attention to the words, the fall of the accents!
No, I was right after all. Libretto does mean freedom.
Libretto is the freedom from the tyranny of exact translation.
Libretto is my infant child and she doesn’t know whether my words have meaning—
she only knows that the sounds are true.
Relax love. I’ll go put on some tea. Make us a tray of libretto and butter.