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POETRY SWAP MEET: Poetry we don't usually know about, or?

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 9th Nov 2015
Forum Posts: 4769



Judi K. Beach
(Poet & workshop teacher:  b. November 26, 1947, Cincinnati, Ohio -  d. April 21, 2008, Sedgwick, Maine)


TOMATO AND KNIFE
after the Expressionism Still-Life Painting by Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993)

How easily the tomato obeys the knife’s command,
falling into ripe halves, unequal to the whole,
and the knife, once it’s tasted red flesh, is willing
to slice again this tomato holding onto its seeds.
The knife bleeds in the glass of water
rinsing away its sharp act.

What blade cleaved my parents’ marriage?
The sum of the parts of their union fell
into negative numbers, or so my mother
grew to think. The knife, sharply pointed.
Her anger clung to the blade.
The knife in that glass never came clean.

My mother is half of me. My mother is half
of my sister. Yet when our mother dies,
the halves we are will never equal her.
No matter how close we might get, she
will stand between us like a knife blade cleaving
our closeness as we fall into unequal halves.

My sister’s half, the ability to talk back,
to be direct, to discount. Mine, the ability
to be hurt effectively and efficiently. At least
this is what my sister tells me as she slices
the tomatoes for the salad of Thanksgiving.
She smiles. The tomato releases its seeds.
Juice runs down the blade.

______________________________

Judi K. Beach: ”In the ’60s I fell in love with John Donne’s passion and Hopkins’ delight in language. In the ’70s I read Gibran for his spiritual wisdom and Piercy for her relevance to my life. In the ’80s I was dumbfounded by the honesty of Sharon Olds and the way Billy Collins found revelation in the ordinary. In the ’90s I opened myself to what the Universe would have me write. Somehow, I want all that to collide in a poem. I’ll keep writing until it does.”


Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 9th Nov 2015
Forum Posts: 4769

Mark C. Bruce

THE POMPEIIAN COUPLE

Two men are carrying a mattress
in the emergency lane of the 5 freeway.
The pale yellow light of a car’s
flashing blinkers catching them
in a bas-relief, faces upturned
arms around the bulky mattress
like Greek warriors embedded
on a vase, black and red-orange,
their arms stiffly raised,
Agamemnon and Odysseus
bringing a consolation prize
to Achilles, hoping its sagging pleasures
will sate his brooding need
to be attended to as if he were a god.

The woman in my passenger seat
has fallen asleep, her small lips
not curved in smile, her chin
low on her chest. It was our first date
and all of the walking through the gallery
of artifacts from Pompeii has worn her out.

I bought her a portrait
of a Pompeiian couple which had touched her,
a woman and her husband, holding pen and book
and gazing directly at the viewer
from two thousand years.
It had been found, a fresco
on the wall of a home buried
in volcanic ash. They seemed so content,
so sedate, that thin sense of longing
in their eyes not for a life they didn’t have
but for the moment they could stop posing
and turn again to each other.

The woman beside me sleeps
and dreams, no doubt, of a villa
in a Neapolitan port suburb,
children’s voices echoing against
the walls painted with gardens
and stiffly posed birds.
Somewhere in her dream is a husband
who doesn’t look like me.

I pass the men carrying the mattress
and take the woman back to her home,
knowing there are some burdens
whose ends I will never understand.

__________________________________

Mark C. Bruce: I work as an attorney with the public defender in Orange County. In the spare corners of my day—usually at lunch, waiting for a case to be called, in the quiet moments and after work when the office is deserted—he works on poems.”

butters
butters
Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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Joined 17th Sep 2019
Forum Posts: 798

Jade-Pandora said:

Judi K. Beach
(Poet & workshop teacher:  b. November 26, 1947, Cincinnati, Ohio -  d. April 21, 2008, Sedgwick, Maine)


TOMATO AND KNIFE
after the Expressionism Still-Life Painting by Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993)

How easily the tomato obeys the knife’s command,
falling into ripe halves, unequal to the whole,
and the knife, once it’s tasted red flesh, is willing
to slice again this tomato holding onto its seeds.
The knife bleeds in the glass of water
rinsing away its sharp act.

What blade cleaved my parents’ marriage?
The sum of the parts of their union fell
into negative numbers, or so my mother
grew to think. The knife, sharply pointed.
Her anger clung to the blade.
The knife in that glass never came clean.

My mother is half of me. My mother is half
of my sister. Yet when our mother dies,
the halves we are will never equal her.
No matter how close we might get, she
will stand between us like a knife blade cleaving
our closeness as we fall into unequal halves.

My sister’s half, the ability to talk back,
to be direct, to discount. Mine, the ability
to be hurt effectively and efficiently. At least
this is what my sister tells me as she slices
the tomatoes for the salad of Thanksgiving.
She smiles. The tomato releases its seeds.
Juice runs down the blade.

______________________________

Judi K. Beach: ”In the ’60s I fell in love with John Donne’s passion and Hopkins’ delight in language. In the ’70s I read Gibran for his spiritual wisdom and Piercy for her relevance to my life. In the ’80s I was dumbfounded by the honesty of Sharon Olds and the way Billy Collins found revelation in the ordinary. In the ’90s I opened myself to what the Universe would have me write. Somehow, I want all that to collide in a poem. I’ll keep writing until it does.”

wowowowowowow

LOVE this

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
169awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 9th Nov 2015
Forum Posts: 4769

butters said:wowowowowowow

LOVE this

🐾( ( ( hug hug hug ) ) ) )🐾


butters
butters
Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
2awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 17th Sep 2019
Forum Posts: 798

Jade-Pandora said:
🐾( ( ( hug hug hug ) ) ) )🐾

there's not a line i'd change or don't like, but that opening stanza? blew.me.away.

Jade-Pandora
Jade-Pandora
jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
169awards   profile   poems   message
Joined 9th Nov 2015
Forum Posts: 4769


butters said:there's not a line i'd change or don't like, but that opening stanza? blew.me.away.
Thank you, Jan, those are the reasons I posted it here, and to bring the poet back to life.  Thank you for helping make my day.

🐾

p.s.  I’ve included an image for you, painted by the same artist (Richard Diebenkorn) as the knife and tomato (entitled “knife and glass”), written into the poem so effectively.

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