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Charmed, and: Movement, and: King Leopold, and: How to Write a Poem, and: Dockside Dolls

From: The Missouri Review
Volume 36, Number 1, 2013
pp. 91-98 | 10.1353/mis.2013.0004

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Charmed, and: Movement, and: King Leopold, and: How to Write a Poem, and: Dockside Dolls
Charmed

for Frost

I hate gravity

I hate what it’s all about

I despise not only falling but having to lumber step by step along sidewalks instead of jumping floatingly along

or pushing off the earth’s face with a squat thrust into space

may no god or goddess willfully misunderstand my hatred of gravity and whisk me permanently away

earth’s the right place for TV

I don’t know where else I’d be able to watch Charmed

one could do worse than to live in a world without gravity watching Charmed [End Page 92]

Movement

When I say you are beautiful I mean you are beautiful thoughts and words and moments. You are beautiful in movement— half movement—and beautiful in light. Which means you are beautiful in shadow, a beautiful traitor, a beautiful liar to me. You have lied to me. You are proof that beauty is no ordinary lie, beautiful in the way you shift in your chair and look to the side, beautiful also in the way you resist me. You are beautiful in photographs and not less beautiful in life— not more. Another thing I’ve noticed is that your beauty is a growing beauty, it grows. Not like a tidal wave or a sudden thunderstorm, it grows like a curtain in a lazy breeze, and like a curtain it is patterned in a sort of old-fashioned way, with large lazy flowers, a border, your beauty, and it’s dusty, and we love it when outside it starts to rain a little bit and the damp air moves the curtain and past the curtain, your beauty, and we hear the occasional tick of raindrops on big leaves and it gradually becomes a rush. It is then a thought of rain—more, almost, than rain itself, more than an episode of rain, and more [End Page 93] than the actual wetness of rain or even the memory of other rain it is the action of rain that is your beauty—it is its movement. [End Page 94]

King Leopold

for Chris Knerr

Ah Leopold. Leopold! Belgian King, Congo’s captor, Killer of millions untold, Veritable human rights Velociraptor.

So many Africans left for dead While you spent your vacation At a brothel in Hampstead— Not funny. It was a house of flagellation.

You were a Machiavellian, A pervert, and really quite cruel. Every right-thinking Belgian Arrived hours early to boo your funeral. [End Page 95]

How to Write a Poem

Tell me not of rain-heavy maple leaves, poet, nor of how leaf-shadows sprawl in wan light across a cedar fence, but rather of how terrible you feel for having noticed these things, having captured them in such a way, then—be honest—of how ashamed you are for having been born, having learned to walk, on two legs, across whatever part of the face of this planet has apparently been assigned to you.

Neither tell me of a squirrel pausing on top of that fence which, you say, will soon glow silver-gray in winter rains, for how, may I ask, do you know that those rains will arrive or, arrived, that they will cause a fence-top to glow? Rather explain how you started to see the world around you, thought you knew what was going on but were brought to some middle place between seeing and knowing, that you were confounded—

admit it—by terror in that place, and that words can’t begin to describe it. [End Page 96]

Dockside Dolls

“Happiness isA warm, yes it is, gun”

—The Beatles

Our love was like A trash can kids threw fast-food trash in.

Your beauty reminded me Of Picasso’s Guernica, sort of messed up but cool.

Your body, A broken...