Bio Note: This poem arrived as I was backing down the driveway in a Wisconsin winter, thinking about poetry. The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach) is my most recent book, available from spdbooks.org. Raise the Green World is forthcoming.
The Tyranny of the Discontinuous Mind
You back out of the driveway with your eyes on the mirror but the line you’ve been composing distracts and the garbage truck spinning its wheels on the ice comes out of nowhere and the poem you’re thinking of now in slow motion is ironic and slick, moving sideways in the heat of its melting under the stutter of antilock brakes. Fortunately, the top of your head is intact, though metaphors for poem-making collide as, caught with the net down, you lift your racket to serve the shuttlecock topic straight to the listener, take that, only to have it lofted back in a high slow arc from the tap of the reader’s gut-strings, a give-and-take. Maybe you paint your face in lightning strikes, quadrants of black and white, lipstick a cupid’s bow, add a curly wig, and no one can fail to look, though it’s a mask, the greasepaint you wipe off at night. You want to preserve what once flashed rainbow leaping out of the water but make a taxidermist’s poem that startles but doesn’t move, stuffed with the mind’s newspapered expectations, cotton-batting beliefs, or a Monarch unfolds her orange and black wings, curls six feet around your finger as you watch her close and disclose her marks–and the mind opens, too, admitting the skies of migration, the delicate probing touch.
©2022 Robin Chapman
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