Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Poems by Alice Beecher


Asleep in the slave deserts of El Salvador
A child is dreaming of tangerines.
He is dreaming of their pulp mashing between his teeth
in aphrodisiac orange,
of the juice humming through his veins
like his sister's cantering whistle
as she beckons the white nosed cattle
with the sword sharp ribs.
He is dreaming of tangerines arriving carelessly
they fumble single file
into sugarcane fields.
He dreams little dirt hands fight
for each concupiscent section,
desperate in animal greed,
their blood running gold in the afternoon heat,
heads screaming wild for the stray nectar
to grace their naked tongues...
But He will not beg the tangerines their vibrance.
He will take hours to suck out their hearts.



what better could you do
little girl
shook up with your blue suede eyes
as you roamed for the holy in oak trees
cross-stitched with the names of a thousand strangers
none of them your lover
while you listened shut-lipped for streetwalkers mumbling urban arias
your ears were sharper than sacred pavement
you thought they were writing bibles
from the strains of their madness

don't you know New York has lost its taste for poets
now that Jim Carroll died
and we all are getting silicon-drunk
on instant cures and digital access
now there are no verses left
and no smoky eyed dreamers
to wear ink on their elbows.

do you remember your grandfather told you
you would have countless loves
that they would burn your heart
do you remember he said to forget all of them
except the one you never begged to dance
the one with whose limbs bent in natural rhythms
thin and black, like accordion folds
the one who sang songs you half-whistled, half-wept
is there not enough poetry for you
in the curve and slip of his gaze?

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