Rogue Homilies by Deidre Price

a study of life that smacks of the divine

Month: April 2014

April 4: Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker Fridays
 
I wear worry lines most days.
They trace the edges of my eyes
like war paint. 
On days when motherhood will not be enough,
I think of dark, short hair with waves
as unpredictable as mountain roads.
Twin backseat screams make short rides long,
force me back to long-lost days of boys and shows,
driving the wrong way down a one-way Pensacola street.
The ever-seventeen year old in me
cannot behave. She needs
a Dorothy Parker Friday
sometimes.
I dress my eyes in dark,
put the color of blood on my lips.
I vamp a little.
I polish up the skin of a self
pushed aside by another.
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April 3: Amy Riddell

Like a Butterfly
for Amy Riddell
With a mouthful of bean dip,
I told you across the table covered
in my sprawling prose pretending to be poetry,
“How do you do it? You’re like a boxer.
You keep your eyes open, your arms in—
always a jab waiting in the wings.
I don’t do that.
I flail.”
My poems are tired toddlers
or drunken protestors in the rain
with blistered feet and signs too wet to be read
so they just start swearing.
You see where to hit
and how hard.
You study soft spots on repeat,
recall how fast the other falls.
You know divots in the record,
hearing skips before they happen.
You’re in the ring until the ding,
the last one standing.
I want those wings
that make you
light enough

to float.
———-
Read selections from Amy Riddell’s Bullets in the Jewelry Box here. Then buy it. Lord have mercy, the things this poet does with words.

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April 2: William Carlos Williams

The Good Doctor
for William Carlos Williams
“You now officially have more information about me
than any other person on the planet,” I said,
handing over five small-print pages
where I checked family history
boxes beside disorders and cancers,
X-ing them hard,
layering death-black ink like superstitions
while tallying loves and losses,
counting on confessions to keep me safe.
In the waiting room, my mind wanders
as I wonder whether a sinning priest
can confess to himself.
Here, I think of you, William Carlos Williams,
the good doctor,
a wound in one hand,
a salve in the other,
never waiting in this room
to hear the sound of your own name.
You, the diagnostician,
must have known always what you had,
but in this waiting room
a woman who cannot heal herself
cries.
I finger-trace cures into idle hands,
stand by for white-coat wonders.
I want to write her well like you,
to save all the plums for her,
push her in red wheelbarrows home
where she can dance naked in front of a mirror,
afraid only of waking the baby,
her sweet Kathleen.
I am no cure.

I can only put her in a poem.
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April 1: Walt Whitman

To mark National Poetry Month, I will be penning and posting a poem a day to celebrate a poet I love. I admire regimens. I also admire forgiveness when I fail at them. Let’s be a team and give both a try!
One of my deepest high school crushes was Walt Whitman. He was my introduction to the kind of poetry that could take the top of my head off (borrowing here from Plath’s all-to-precise phrasing). Leaves of Grass changed the way I think about writing and life. It unshackled me. 
And so we begin with him, one of my very first loves.
Napping Lazarus
For Walt Whitman
Like a boy putting lemon juice between the lines,
you invisible inked me love letters
while I waited in the sleeping nothing
to be born.
You worked on me with whispers—
wake up, wake up, wake up—
turning into yawps,
pulling me out from beneath years of covers
onto Boston rooftops.
“All the good ones are dead!” I said,
wishing I’d been born Jesus,
you, my napping Lazarus.
Agrarian burial clothes might house
your hollow body,
empty even of that Massachusetts air.
I’d bring you back without question.
“Arise, Walt Whitman!
Come out!”
__________
Read Walt Whitman’s work at Poets.org

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