Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Brooklyn English" by Ange Mlinko


The liftoff from a rooftop coop
distant thunder of the icemaker
child in a tenement stairwell
a cement echo in the art deco
shambles: these are not the
terms to discern a sentence by,
except a sentence that wraps
its back in a negative embrace
against you, made a fence.
It is a sentence so philosophical
naturally asymptotic butterflies
shudder to land on obvious
subjects, topiaries.
(Monarch migration season
a Lincoln-slept-here glamour
to the rose-of-sharon.)
Perennials flare out of lots
in which legs of chairs
suspended in the tangle extrude
hidden toys in the foliage
and last blossoms like teacup sets
smashed till only odd ones left.
When tractor trailers roar past
tripping anti-theft alarms
we all cease to speak, honoring
the uncertain fate awaiting things
whose words retain the sound
of  verse: victoria, brougham, caleche. . . .
The sky has an ardor for clouds,
avatars of lambs when lambs
populated the vocabulary.
Take the treated flannel cloth
that in jewel blue'll rub the smears
out of the lenses, put on glasses.
Spiderwebs on underside buttresses.
But now, reader, get ready for
a real scene of horror:
There's not a word demanded of you
by all this air and leafery.  Not a word.

Source of the text - Ange Mlinko, Shoulder Season.  Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2010, pp. 78-79.

Bourguignomicon: Sound-scene & semidoggerel. The poet seeks more challenging verse by writing unimpeachable leafery: “echo in the art deco,” “jewel blue’ll.”

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