Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dan Marsh's Poem About Still Lifes That Move

Poems by DC poet Dan Marsh, who grew up on Long Island in the artist community of Springs.

Sunlit Table by Archie Forrest

Still Life

One day the still lifes
moved

for reasons of their own
the pears turned blue

the fig dropped its leaf

the vase fell, saying
I'm empty
there's nothing in me
don't add a stroke to save 
what isn't there

I'm clear, I'm glass
you can see through me
if you want to, now,
painted on canvas 
with opaque paints,

all the way through.


A Small Death in Spring

The Red-bellied woodpecker was dead
To begin with.
He didn't need to be Holmes to know it,
There in front of his home in azalea-Spring.
He had seen through the picture window
A lump on the path, perhaps the neighbor's
St. Bernard had left another offering. But no.
And to think, as on many days:
That morning he had filled the feeder
And put suet cakes in the holders nailed to two limbs
Of the salix nigra Marsh.
The stunning bird mistook unwashed glass for air.
Mysterious gods work in mysterious ways.

(In this poem Jesus in the title is pronounced 
like Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus in the text like Jesus Alou)

Jesus, the Pinch Hitter

Jesus shuffles to the plate as if
he's wearing sandals not spikes.
He's spent time in the desert, working 
strictly minor league,
For the Dodgers, I think, or Cardinals.
At thirty-two (or -three, there was confusion
about his birth document in '00), 
this may be his only shot. 
The pitcher's a crafty lefty. 
(Righties of that devil's ilk are called junk-ballers.)
On this rain-threatened Friday, it must be Jesus' day; 
he clips one off the end of the bat to the 301 in right. 
Dominican Sister Juan Andrew reaches down 
and cradles it. Home run the umpire signs, 
though everyone else in this heaven knows
it might have been, but wasn't one.

Loving Tierney Finn's Daughter

The old man said the extra money went to relief
For families in the north, gut-poor and haunted
By British soldiers. It was a MacNamara's Band
That played in a Woodside bar in Queens.
Tierney said of the twenty apiece
I shelled for Cathleen and me and the twenty for him:
"It's pennies only to the widdas. The fiddlin' costs."
I bought bullets. I bought guns.
I bought a part of the machine
That blew up in a Belfast square.
I knew not what I did.
Here I stand;
Here I stand and lie.
Catholic then I loved Cathleen.



painters and poets
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