Monday, July 05, 2004

The day started off with a
strange discovery that the house had been infested with a case of Bug-in-a-Rug Syndrome.

Come evening, I was invited to a feast of profound magnitude with some of my very favorite friends and their progeny--who, incidentally, are some of my very favorite small boys.

Afterwards, we all headed to Barstow Park, behind the local Hy-Vee store, to watch the annual fireworks . . . because, well, it's just to thing to do. After idly amusing ourselves while impatiently waiting for the sun to set, the first of the fireworks finally arrived to an enraptured audience.

What is it about the ephemeral, night-blooming radiance of fireworks that always leaves me feeling achingly wistful?

Following the official municipal fireworks, there was an unofficial after-party, in which smaller combustibles were set off (most of them, we're pleased to report, not ricocheting into the neighbors' rooftops) and the evening was ultimately pronounced to be a great success.

I rarely post my poems on my blog, but here is a fourth of July poem, from a few years back:


The electric, pulsating see-saw wheeze
of cicadas

calling back and forth to each other, tree
to tree, the song

passed around from first one tree to the next
in circular

patterns--one cycle seeming to ignite
another, like

jazz musicians trading fours. Glinting

of fireflies are flashes of sequins sewn
in arabesques

on a black dress, first capturing the light
and holding it

in, like a sharp catch of breath at the throat,
then a sudden

exhalation of tiny stars. Damp musk
of grainy silt,

the river’s soft repetitive licking
against the banks,

moon a ripe tangelo, and finally
the fireworks come--

ruptured sky, sizzle of rent fabric, smoke
leaving after-

images like pearled, cloudy nebulas.
And afterwards,

you and I, we will ignite, pulse, and bloom
all through the night

like rare and glamorous orchids--drawn in
first one, and then

the other, to hunger among scalloped
purple petals,

warm honey, like hypnotized bees deceived
by vanilla

and spice and musk into confusing bee
love with flowers.

And maybe, like flowers, we must seduce
pleasure the way

butterflies are seduced into stopping
for one moment

to grip the round hips of buds and uncurl
their tongues to drink.

Maybe pleasure isn’t even really
pleasure unless

it’s evanescent--like ephemeral

opening over the water to hang
for one moment

before drizzling down the smooth ceramic
of the dark sky

like a bright dribbling of pottery glaze . . .
egg’s raw, gold yolk.
Posted by Artichoke Heart | 4:15 PM |
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Books by Artichoke Heart
Beyond Heart Mountain
Year of the Snake

Poems by Artichoke Heart
Songs for a Rainy Season
Toothpick Warriors
Snake Wife
Happy Hour
Girl With A Bowl On Her Head

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