Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I thought I'd try and make up for my long absence/e-laziness by (re)posting a few poems. Here are a couple from Splinter Generation. The Revision first appeared in Rosebud; Oasis first appeared in New Millennium Writings.


I decided to take your advice
on my poem. The penultimate stanza
has been shifted to the end.
I now describe the Jehovah’s Witness
using third-person omniscient.
You were right, by the way,
about my reference to Theodote,
not to mention that line
about eating a plate of hot wings
just to try and feel something.
Yes, Iowa really does have dogwoods.
Yes, Yo-Yo Ma really forgot
his own cello in a Manhattan cab.
But I meant it as a compliment
when I called you ergonomic.
No, you’re right about me
needing to think less about circumcision
and more about white dwarf stars,
which are really just diamonds
ringing like Tibetan gongs in the deep.
Even so, I want to tell you
about the hiccup in my aorta
when you stretched tonight, your thumb
between stanzas, nose-ring
catching the moon… well, just so.


I spent most of this day trying to decide
whether life is more like a lacuna or a palimpsest
when I realized I would be better served
at that bar down the street—the one
with swords and deer skulls hung on the wall,
the pretty waitress who has never heard
of J. Alfred Prufrock, retired old men
propped against their pipes and beer steins.

I confess, I find it hard to mourn
the loss of polar bears without first toasting
the extinction of soda jerks and Christ,
the fact that what happens in poetry
still stays in poetry, Vegas be damned.
And the bearded boy from my Comp class
who stalled a bullet with his skull,
who left more than his heart in Afghanistan.

Let there be pretzels and microwave brats.
Let there be coasters for Irish beer
imported from some factory in China.
Let there be cigars that go well with cognac
in a town that serves no cognac,
one shot called the Mind Eraser followed
by another called the Non-Metaphorical Sunset
and its sour chaser, All We’d Die to Forget.

This one, Ode to Dogs, was part of a chapbook from Codhill Press and won the James Wright Poetry Award from Mid-American Review:


I am tired of hearing about dogs
used as metaphors for the uncivilized.
Imagine a world in which humans

possessed at least twenty times
as many olfactory receptors,
able to distinguish the tang of cancer

rising musk-like from the bedsheets
next to a smoldering ash tray,
able to detect that one drop of blood

in every five quarts of water,
to know what you did last night
no matter how many times

you soap-scrubbed the evidence.
It does not take savagery
but more love than we can muster

to lick the hand you've sniffed,
to love despite the perfume of sins
we wear each day like a halo.

Here's one I published on Juked awhile back:

The World's Oldest Dildo
by Michael Meyerhofer

Long before the Shroud of Turin
or an Antikythera Mechanism
drawn up swamped with sea-rust,

nearly three hundred centuries
before Tutankhamun's death mask,
this polished siltstone relic

found its way into a German cave.
Sure, it's worth a snicker, imagining
Ice Age couples with sex toys,

but still it strikes me as quaint—
hunched shoulders carefully sanding
out every potential snag, a mate

smirking across the campfire,
a hide hung over the cave-mouth.
How to know that the wind outside

would go on howling that way,
so many ages of chariots and gore?
That the stars were just stars,

that no gods hurled the lightning
or left berries under the ice?
Let's give it a test run, one of them said

in a series of Ice Age grunts,
and through no miracle but their own,
they crafted heat to melt the glaciers.

Plus a couple from Diagram--Iconography of the Heart and Elegy for Roxana Rivera.

Iconography of the Heart
by Michael Meyerhofer

We see it haunting lockets, cards,
carved into the breasts of trees
or fingered into fresh cement,
this shape of what does not exist:
two upside-down teardrops

fused at the ankles, their cries unheard.
In red cardboard, a vault for chocolates.
Synonym for affection at the end
of an erotic letter, soggy with lavender.
What everyone searches for

and promises, yet cannot recognize—
the engine that stretches in rain
or breaks like hopelessly precious china,
the pieces skittering across
the dull white floor of the ribcage.

Oh, the heart is not symmetrical,
not an arrowhead angled safely down,
but a meaty crimson fist that swells
like a bladder, about to explode.
Like the part of the beast we discard

or a star a trillion miles away,
seen by us only after it goes nova,
casting itself in death across the wastes
in rainbow arcs of fire—something
we'll wish upon, ages after it's gone.

Elegy for Roxana Rivera
by Michael Meyerhofer

One of our last afternoons together
you were trying to explain something:

how in your old LA neighborhood
whenever someone died, family

and friends would construct an altar
of candles, pictures and poems

overlooking the stained concrete
where they fell—how after awhile

you said, so many altars flickered
across lawns, streets and curbs

that from the air, they must look
like constellations. You said

you wondered what they made:
just as I wonder now about

the roses left naked and tattered
in the ditch, the lights that go

untended as our own conversations
turn inevitably to other things.

I would like to say we tattooed
your body like a hunter across the sky

but at best we leave you
an hourglass of cooling stars

as we take the pens for ourselves,
living exactly as you would have us.

Another from Pedestal:

by Michael Meyerhofer

When, in the thirty-sixth year of his death,
they moved for the tenth time his casket
to where it lies now, seeded under concrete,
workmen opened it one last time
to make sure it was him—and there he lay,
pungent to be sure, but the same
stubble and mole, unruly dark hair, closed
eyes. Behind the right where
Booth’s bullet stalled, halfway through
the gray sadness of Lincoln’s brain,
a slow mortal wound so that weeping men
carried him out into the D.C. rain,
across the street to a bed he could die in,
no amount of prayers or pleading rousing him
for so much as another last word,
his docile repose nearly then like it was
when they cranked open that casket lid
to find his face gone brown—a grace
from that assassin’s bullet, bits of bone
bronzing his cheeks with unhealed bruises.

Finally, here's a kinda sci fi-ish one off Astropoetica:

BPM 37093
by Michael Meyerhofer

Separated by fifty-odd light years
from the Star of Africa
lies a celestial jewel 2,500 miles across,
carats on the order of ten billion
followed by twenty-four more zeros.
A smoldering white dwarf
like our own pyrite-colored sun may be.
Proof that after a solar relationship
ends, like most relationships,
with a fiery, bloating rampage
followed by a crash-diet
down to blistered, white-hot corestuff,
the leftover carbon crystallizes
into a two-septillion-ton rock
set in an orbital band of dark ether.
Scientists learned this, they say,
because diamond-stars ring like gongs,
yielding signals that pulse
like the quintessential last word
of bodies long-since scalded to cinders.

No comments:

Post a Comment