Karla Linn Merrifield
even as the darkness oozes
overland, it spews into the sea
spewen… spīwan… speien…
spȳja… speiwan… spuere
as verb…as noun…eleven hundred years
of vomit human vomit oceans of vomit--
but even then…even now…I commit
This is the gestalt of Ego Everypoet,
E.E. (not e.e.), Psyche’s female lead:
To the Superegos— all egos are illegal aliens
in need of severe restraints, ergo:
wing-clipped zoo flamingo,
casino macaw chained to tiki bar,
caged cockatoo in $ Store window.
To the Id named JoJo the Poet--
E.E. is a wildling enraptured raptor:
Rio Negro harpy eagle, Amazon-eyed,
Nile River falcon-headed sky queen,
Colorado River canyon-conquering condor.
She admits to a certain ferocity of syllables.
Aubade in Nine Amphibrachs
I ponder dawn, listening, repeating
his koans in amphibrach whispers:
may be your killer--
into the music
into the music.
blue raincoat he arrives.
If my woman
is sleeping and dreaming,
she is much older
and nobody’s fool.
Humming Aurora’s love song
with the poet, the old monk remembers to chant:
I miss you,
forgive you your enrapture
glad you took the trouble
to say your morning prayers in my name.
[with lines from Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” (1971]
No wonder you checked out
of the regional medical center,
the nomenclature finally wore
your old brain to a numb.
You sure as heck weren’t going to fight
no hospitalese disease no more.
You could swallow FALL RISK stamped
on a cartoon-yellow wristband,
but NDD-2 Mechanical Soft Diet?
No way, José. Mechanical?
Think pureed. Think strained.
Think baby-food-Pablum. Bleah.
(At least Mech-Soft Entrée is spelled correctly.)
The sterile scene is suffocatingly abbreviating:
MRI, CT, BP, CCs…
Don’t expect a doc on his/her rounds;
he/she’s a hospitalist now.
Say lumbar puncture because
spinal tap is too Frankensteinian.
I like to imagine it was
the LPNs, RNs, and NPs
who shorted you right out,
a few final pains at the ass end,
right before your last word.
[with lines from Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat." 1971]
In the dream as in the flashback
I invented colors for the major consonants
employing Crayola’s® pre-1990 24-pack
(minus 3 lost hues)
I crayoned D as in David violet blue
I made my K green yellow
and because we Clashed (that cap C
a garish orange red)
because I could not dab the P
of my Pretending in Peach--
missing from the gaudy box--
I made the L in our Love story gray
[skuh-too r-ee-uh nt]
scaturient I become
vaudeville showgirl in feather boa
hussy in stilettos
I leave myself breathless
This grandmother cottonwood
is ideal for the tree house
I am reconstructing in its limbs.
The old native welcomes one
from the past, c. 1969,
one that stood on stilts.
You climbed a ladder, clumsy;
I followed you, fumbling,
to where bunk beds had been used
by Ann’s older brother, and Jean’s--
boys-to-men’s beer spilled sperm.
Knees hugged to abdomen,
we sat on bare plank flooring
and kept each other’s secrets.
Who knows? You. Me.
And now the old witness tree.
quoting from a loose-leaf
sheet of ruled filler
recto in bold red
Woolworth’s R-4963 N-3
verso partly in cursive
in fountain pen’s black ink
They made us
alone in the world
hopeless or not
believe all this
and the stars
Not a diary entry not a poem but
sans salutation sans signature
and undated (probably autumn 1968)
it is the undelivered note
of possibility rendered impossible