Alan Britt

UNIVERSE OF WORDS

 

 

He dances

     on tiptoes

               so as not

                     to

                 panic

                        a herd

                                  of verbs

thereby discouraging 

                    any chance

      of contaminating

                              his decaying

                                             pod

         of tamarind

                      seeds

                            coffee black

               as her eyes

     when he

                    first fell

                                in love

                                          with her.

 

On second thought, he needs to be alone.

 

Don’t we all?

 

Except when an oboe

                                  enters

                        the sliding glass door

                                 silent as a goldfinch feather

and slick like

                      the

                           gloves

                                 of a professional burglar.

 

So much for Descartes trapped inside an acorn

              east to west

                    bursting its strapless sunburnt shoulder blades.

 

So much for thoughts made of ether.

 

So much for the clown waving his rainbow tambourine

              in the face

                                  of gods,

        or whatever they call themselves

                                                             these days

                    swirling

                                   like

                                         dust

                                               devils

                                                     with

                                                             their

                                  palatine

                                                 thumbs

                       goosing

                                          our

                                                      nomenclature.

LATE, AS USUAL

 

(For Ron Noel: 1953-1997)

 

I could be sipping mob swill

instead of waiting on a friend.

 

I prefer friend to swill.

 

No offense to the underworld, but

I’ll avoid the swill & pretend that

my friend is alive & well, knowing

full well that death itself is the mob,

& life emerges from the mob.

 

So, dangling like a single olive

from the arthritic tree

of kingdom come with sixteen

iridium moons orbiting my filthy

brain, I’ll continue to wait

on my friend.  

 

Sometimes the mob gyroscopes time.

 

Nevertheless, friend, without consequence,

including the gravity that separates you

from me, tonight, & without the banal

world that forever remains too much

with us, you’re late as usual.

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Alan Britt has published 20 books of poetry and his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Cottonwood, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Stand (UK), plus countless others. He was nominated for the 2021 International Janus Pannonius Prize awarded by the Hungarian Centre of PEN International for excellence in poetry from any part of the world. Previous nominated recipients include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bernstein and Yves Bonnefoy. He was interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.