Selected Poems

by Harrison Parks

204

remnants of marriage

she played amateur esthetician
and pain like migraines
danced on my nose

the sacrifice of nerves
for her aesthetic
nonchalance and disregard

watching tyra banks
for schadenfreude and
models' sakes

i don't know how else to
put it, other than that i
found her, bought a ring

and moved away
so that i could make a life
for us.

we made tender little lies
and uncommunicable pain
is still there on the bad days.

you can dress it up in all the
rhetoric we want. our bond
was a disgusting knot.

koshka, catty brat, 'my man'
and every pet name that
leaves me gagging

my sympathies are with her,
notwithstanding.
attacked for not

delineating her attractions.
her father's love of life
finished by a pistol --

when i revisit this
wretching decade past,
my bouts of never leaving

my house, my disinterest in
anything but books of
beautiful ideas, picking

blueberries all day with her,
making bread, tasting her
incredible borsch,

her present of armagnac,
hiding her polyamory,
the ugly contradictions,

loss and disbelief,
solace, orgasms, and sleep--
i still believe

in human nature and
the kindness of strangers,
charlie chaplin dropping

his tramp and telling
soldiers to fight for
freedom; the choice of love,

its vict'ry march,
the overwhelming sweet
solace that so many

gave me freely --
for now my scar tissue
looks nothing like scars,

through no restorative
but human grace,
human will &

human faith.
human wisdom,
human love --

human dreams and
human fun.
cynicism died

the slowest, bitterest
end. all that's left
remains unfurled.

my doors are open,
step inside, there'll
be fresh work and

fresher lines, there'll
be memories of sunflowers
bought in d.c. from street

vendors, deejays with
parodies of jay-z's
"black republican"

ressurection from melly,
trees on fire, her love
over three gelato scoops,

women on stilts parading the
cobblestone streets of quebec city,
and there, claire & i & a blue whale.

it is jumping into a pool
with clothes on & harvest
moon on a hot night.

i love haunting melodies
inspired by anne frank,
shoes of thousands piled

upon each other from the
rubble of german concentration
camps, the knowledge that

my heritage served the usaaf,
safely navigated the skies,
escaped to the french underground,

restored studebakers and tulsa life.
i return and steep in echoes,
celebrate and caterwaul,

meet south koreans, kiwi zealands,
english faces, geoje women.
pronounce another country's tongue --

i create. i don't appease.
none of this was she and i.
remnants scatter and belie.

i wish you well, i wish you breath --
find, once more, a honeyed mouth.
breathe in

our tranquil shock: our bold, bright light.

 

206
a contemplative
beekeeper smokes
upon his hive.

he wears clogs and sits,
looking out upon his land

and no matter how hard
they've tried, no one has
captured what it really

feels like to rip off a craggy
hunk of a long loaf of bread,
crisp and soft

then drizzle it with honey
that you have on your own land,
kiss the woman you share it

happily with, look out and
see that all is right for this day --
and the tragedy that may

come later will be assuaged
by the memory of days like these
days where there is nothing except

the torn loaf, the honey upon our
lips, the soft curves of her hips
and the finality of a technicolor sunset.

 

217

All we want are stories.

It's all we've ever wanted.

It doesn't matter where the hero goes,

As long as we are there,

To recognize a little bit of

You in I and I in you --

To reverberate, to harmonize, to reach an equilibrium...

And die, knowing that when our oscillations met --

They soared in step.


218

beer sums up poetry
it cascades and sloshes
effortlessly, penetrates
without knowing where it
is going, found in prose,
found in the phrase
"the sun rises in the morning,
phallic energy abounding, its half-circle
a head penetrating the sky."

it is the stuff of life, it gives hope
to the hopeless, to the downandout
lovers, the roundabout dwellers,
and there are its obsessives, its
cataloguers, its connoisseurs, its
detractors, its lovers and its makers.
beer is the day and the night.
Drink with me, before it is time for sleep,
Hold me upright, and wobbly toast our lives.

 

219

We are sex and a chocolate ice cream bar
a pumpkin souffle with honey;
you and i, i and you,
double mint ice cream
and airy blues.

Whipped cream
laced with vodka,
strawberry sauce inlaid,
A sundae at the babel tower
We are a chocolate ice cream bar and sex.

 

Check out more by Harrison Parks on his website

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