Cody Todd

Three Poems

Epistle from the Guild of Lost Angels

No death here. Poetry a scarecrow
of rags hung above squash & pumpkins.

I live the naked fictions inside my head
until I clothe them with my words.

My lover, in the tree, sings of the moon
& the fuse. Her absence is a pink fiction

of lemonade, ice-cubes, honeybee choirs
& summer’s fevered heat on the teeth

of her Cheshire grin. I am the point
where progress meets decay. Big ocean.

I’m gone. The saint asked of the beloved.
Because they understand Lee Marvin

setting fires on Formosa. Beauty bought
by scandal. Forever singing & dancing.

A 21st Letter Turn

Night, the animal that keeps you alive.
Night, the u-turn of the self. Hear

sad cows moo their way into the fire. Write
the great American novel, and it scatters

into the poor American madman’s thoughts
in the small tornado of your life.

Pull flower petals like prudes.
Put on woolen tube socks, boots,

and march through your animal rage
on Pluto: one big ball of ice too

far away. Shoo away
friends like flies. You’re no more you

than he or she was you.
Blue sadness was a happiness

that turned its back on you. Poor you.
Fuck you. Love, you

followed the same path until
it finished. You died. You turned

the other way and walked it all again.

William Carlos Williams

By himself, electrocuted;
by modernity, his mind snapped
taut, that tightrope above the falls,
beyond the baseball stadium

loaded with a crowd, screaming like
wildfire. Ballroom dancing with
Marianne Moore beneath the petrified
pelican in a taxidermist’s shop.

He glanced into the mirror’s modernity
and wanted street cars to slalom
through the hair on his scalp, wanted
Paterson’s newspaper headlines

printed on his teeth. A vaudevillian
dance macabre when they released
Ezra from Pisa. Most of all,
Aaron Burr, his outlaw prototype
that trumped any cowboy, assassin

or confederacy. Modernity
was the path, but less linear, less
circular, less step stones and more mud.
A pointillist’s rain-wet wheelbarrow

and white chickens in his old age.
They always just happened to be there.

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