Friday, October 30, 2009

Night Vapors

Here is a brand new poem still in process

Night Vapors

I noticed green light like in a dream,
and I thought, if this is a dream, then I can fly,
but I stuck to the ground like a bug
on gooey-paper, my body heavy as a Mack truck,
my iron feet clinging to the magnetic earth.
Obviously not a dream. I was at a bus stop
and it was dark, but faint green light
illuminated one side of the nearest building,
just the edges of the stones, and one side
of my face reflected in the big black store window
as if I were etched there in pale green acid
that glowed dimly as foxfire. I was naked.
You're not supposed to write the word naked
in a poem for some reason I guess because
if the reader stopped and imagined me naked
and threw up, if might slow the forward
motion of the poem that is heading for a collision
with that oncoming bus with its headlights
not really lighting up the dark street
but only floating before the bus like two
bobble-head baubles with three fireflies in each,
only I don't look like me anymore. I'd say skinner, but
I don't look like anything. No, that's not right, either—
I look like an empty glass shell
with nothing inside me but more of this darkness
and maybe the light missing from those bus headlights
shining from my breasts. Oh-oh, I think
I just said another word that is high in the lexicon
of forbidden words. Don't say naked or breast
because someone will think you're writing
an erotic poem and come to the table or to the bed
with a whole set of inappropriate expectations
and be disappointed and maybe even angry.
This is no dream because too many words
Nestle in the pit of its stomach, trapped like moths
spinning under the dimmest of streetlamps,
and, obviously, I am still not flying, even
though the sheer husk of this shell I call "me"
is filled only with night vapors which Milton
describes as lighter than helium
and my bones are more hollow
that the bones of a humming bird and my legs
are whistles of wind and the stars
are caught in my hair.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
091029-2306-1b(2) at The Rolandale Silk Creek Retreat House

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