View from the terrace of the family's Brooklyn Heights apartment

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pedestrian Verse

I usta think a poem had to dance
step, tango, or tap
waltz, jig, or wiggle 
in a rumble rag or nimble prance:
a muscular mannequin in powdered tights
with amply padded crotch 
springing high as a hedge  
and slowly alighting while dazed we watch
a tutued Barbie with flattened chest
spinning on toe like a top
or puppet-like with jerky grace
skating an inch above the ice
I thought a poem should whisper or shout
Listen! Listen! Listen to this!
as a dancer jumps or struts
before our spellbound trance
But no more. A sophisticated bard now reveals
The end of a line by randomly pressing the return 
Button, with syntax in no discernible shape
At all. And commences his or her next quiet, clean,
If pedestrian, verse, say, with a letter in
The upper case or a preposition 
Out of joint. 
And all with aplomb--and no regrets:
no ruffles, spangles, toes on point
no scraping cleats, stamping heels,
no jangling thump of tambourine 
no swirling skirt, flouncing cape
or clackity-click of castanets.

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