Presentation 101

Joanne Monforte works at Perkins, and she is cute and pretty and sweet. How carefully we watch her! Joanne is dark and cute and has dark eyes; she laughs and giggles and tickles the busboys. Joanne is concentrating on writing a meal ticket. A piece of her hair has fallen on her cheek; a piece of her hair has fallen around her neck. She has very sad eyes; she is very lost; she is very alone. She sways with friendship and blows her bangs off her brow. She nods. Her dark eyelashes have conquered the night. Thoughtful, quick, lovely Joanne!

Presentation 110, The Renee Poem

I adore Renee because she is true to my idea of the human heart. There is something pink in her smile that reminds me of orchids, of my dream of my mother in a garden. She is incredible! A red mountain! She has an equestrian sensitivity to me, and I am surprised by the gentleness of her eyelashes. There is no form of beauty that she reaches for that she does not reach. Her hair is sort of chestnut and wild, and it appeals to me. I want to know more about the care she takes searching for pure roses.

Selections from the Sibyl series

[b]Sibyl Elected[/b]

O for a tongue of ballots to express my vote of you,
Sibyl, child of the reedy dawn,
Temperate angel of the oratory of light,
Cor anglais in a voting booth,
Kissing babies with your poems,
Collocation of all good votes,
Poll taken by the stars
Who stand elect,
Hearing your politic song.
The worlds heard your debate of fortune,
Knew your two points about the issue of creation:
That the young bud opening is not a pinched blossom,
That all democracies of the soul have come.
And that is your truth, little cor anglais,
Wind’s pitchpipe to capitols and cathedrals,
Child of the reedy, televised dawn.

[b]Gray Sibyl[/b]

Gray Sibyl in a New York splashtown, very down today,
Watching children tires her out,
Churches in the rain bring no catharsis.
Passes toward work which will not hold her,
Crosses an extra street.
She will leave tomorrow with a dancing friend,
Not as imagined.
She will go by bus at three o’clock,
Go past trees and a thousand street signs.
Reading each name she will grow tired,
No word she speaks will seem prophetic.
Sleeping I will find her, touch her eyes,
Quiet the engines of burring bus, and then,
In a dream,
Speak in her hair.
With a dancing friend
She’ll be off tomorrow
But now she has paced a third long street
Crossing carefully at corners, childlike,
Spreading herself over puddles,
Sibyl alone under dinge skies, swinging a handbag,
Sorry for poor who know or feel
Nothing of things cochineal.

[b]Sibyl Investigated[/b]

They ran a check on Sibyl.
Began with computerized records of her credit,
Spoke to old neighbors,
Established a confidential dossier.
They classified Sibyl
In class 406-A, “Nervous Visionaries,”
Noted strange tendencies to speak in paradox,
Wander under the moon past curfew hour,
Bedding with strangers, hitchhiking aimlessly,
Refusing to report her whereabouts
To the proper authorities in January,
Thereby risking deportation as an alien.
They ran a check on Sibyl and were upset.
The neighbors spoke freely of a cockeyed girl
Who would just as soon chant of the sun
As look at you.

[b]Sibyl Transient[/b]

When I notice the interminable, efficient,
Meshing of the gears of things,
The way aircraft arrive safely
More often than you might expect them to,
The way elaborate contrivances like refrigerators
Turn themselves on and off for years
Without giving anyone much trouble,
It occurs to me that entire masses of people
Are painlessly relocating themselves at any given moment,
And that now, for instance, someone is sitting next to
Sibyl on a train, or waiting in a station,
Expecting nothing but the impersonal, typical situation
Of being in transit with a stranger,
And sitting quietly, doing little, preparing to make small talk,
They are enjoying the last moment ever to be remembered as familiar
Or associated with any previous experiences.

[b]Sibyl And The Dakota Winds[/b]

The stockman’s warnings are out in the Dakota, Sibyl.
There will be hard wind on the plains, changing early to rain.
I warn you carefully that you are in danger,
Wandering somewhere out there. I know
They have free ice water at Wall Drug Store in the Badlands,
The traveler’s old oasis,
But it won’t help you, Sibyl.
Nothing will help you. You must take cover.
Perhaps they would let you wait out the storm in their restaurant
Or souvenir shop
With the electrical singing cowboys and the two-headed calf.
All the stockman’s warnings are out on the Dakota,
Cold rain changing early to snow,
Driving on across the territory of Minnesota and north into Canada.
Everyone is on the alert for tornadoes,
And I know you are out there,
Crazed, inveterate Sibyl. Let them find you
At Wall Drug Store, admiring the six-foot jackrabbit
And the six-foot-two latex, mechanical speaking edition
Of Abraham Lincoln.

[b]Sibyl On The Head Of A Quarter[/b]

Buying a small package of filter-tipped cigars
I had my quarters refused. Astonished, I examined them
And found, instead of George Washington, stately,
With locks rolled back, a pig-tail bow at his neck,
The unmistakable form of Sibyl, curls piled in a French Roll
On her head, etched with a wry look.
Deeply embarrassed, I paid for my cigars with other change
And left hurriedly. Later in the afternoon,
The same thing happened with a crosstown bus, the impatient,
Gray-capped driver tossing me out. Since then,
It has become my practice to use quarters only in
Vending machines, which receive them thankfully
Into their mechanical gullets, bouncing her gladly
From anvil to anvil, like the tiniest tone
Or beam of light.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud