Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Funeral for a Birth: My Boston Marathon Pastiche Poem

Carol Weston holding court for less than eight minutes.

I do a weekly series on my blog called Stone Soup Croutons, where I take half-heard lines and impressions of images from poems read on the Stone Soup Poetry open mic. This past Sunday, I decided to do a similar poem on the last day of this year's Boston Poetry Marathon.

I got to Outpost 186 Sunday afternoon, just in time for Carol Weston. She was followed by almost twenty other poets I either knew, knew of, or was introduced to that day. I listened to everyone's work, took notes as quickly as I could and came up with the poem below. I finished it yesterday and waited to post it today, when we're likely out our glorious post-hundred-plus poet stupor (personally, I hope mine lasts until next Wednesday).

Is your name listed at the end? If so can you see anything from your set list in my final poem? After a while, I often can't remember what I got from who. Maybe you recognize your work and see what I wrote as the exact opposite of your themes. That's not deliberate, that's just me writing fast. I hope you enjoy it regardless. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone else who read at the event. 


Funeral for a Birth

The poodles poked your tiny palm
feeling sorry for another small thing,

another sad thing born with a fear
of much larger feet, a predilection

to music by The Cure, and a soft,
ailing organ married to this body

until death, your first feeling of regret.
Your body never a temple

but an urban sprawl made of Jello,
you would trade your weak heart

with that of a doe's. You're a person
of all body, always reminding your mind

that it just isn't right. Athena's wisdom
denied you for all your Venus envy,

your frame's pain it's own patriarchy.
Bettie Page and her centerfold disciples

judge your powder-white skin, find you
wanting. A beach day in Dorchester

feels like Chicago's winter winds. A book of
Whitman made you imagine America

as too large, holding multitudes
that kill you as they drop from the sky.

No saints to find you strong bones,
or the other things you never had.

Your eyes snake sky and ceilings
for something other than a quiet creator,

some demigod to change the consonants
in your name to throw off the deity

waiting to turn in your warranty,
their fingers a hot comb through

your head, searching for a serial number.
You knit a cap, hide from your hunter

in the rye, in a field where you wait
for the touch of someone healthy

to cure you of your doctor's expectations.
You envision your wings as too brittle

to reach the clouds, too light to make it
through a summer rain. Email your unmet

message board lover of indeterminate age.
Have them meet you on the fence,

which takes you as far as your heart
can go, before the bread of their body

is ripped from your hand, a last supper basket
promising salvation that's stale on your tongue.  




Special thanks to Carol Weston, Dara Wier, Christine Tierney, Dennis Nurkse, Sawako Nakayasu, Darcie Dennigan, Kathleen Lake, Bridget Eileen, Teresa MacMahon, Richard Hoffman, William Orem, Tom Daley, Serina Gousby, Frannie Lindsay, Robert Carr, Rebeca Roach, Oni Buchanan, Meia Geddes and Dan Wuenschel.

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