Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest Poet: William Doreski

Three Poems

Lyra, Cygnus, Libra, Scorpius

Documents litter the table. Charts,
graphs, memos. Nothing important,
but the clutter lends dignity
to the meeting of our minds.
You look rumpled by intellect,

the wrinkles of your summer dress
corresponding to the powerful
convolutions of your brain. We nod
over competing data and frame
criteria to assess. The moon

basting the lawn outside rebukes
our slackened postures, our lack
of prowess. I’m too old to name
myself after the summer stars—
Lyra, Cygnus, Libra, Scorpius.

And you’re too reflective to share
my love of nighthawks cackling
through the humid dark. Extinct
in most of the state they thrive
still in Keene for some reason

ornithologists haven’t discerned.
We have to complete this proposal
if it takes all night. Lightning flares
a hundred miles north, gilding the sky
for an instant. I gather a mess

of papers and shuffle while I think.
You fix your brown gaze on me.
With a rustle of your cotton dress
a surge of will exudes to force me
to accept your proposition;

but I don’t understand its language,
which isn’t Indo-European
but something fevered by the dark
matter of the universe, which bulks
so mightily between us.

Tossing Your Room

Tossing your room for contraband,
I find underwear large enough
to decorate a rhino, glasses
thick as plywood, three huge wigs
clumsy as shag carpeting. Whose
are these? Not yours, not anyone’s,
but planted to bemuse me.

Light thickens in the window. Storms
approach with their petticoats flaring.
A siren razors the avenue
as police respond to famous crimes.
I’ve bundled these silly objects
into evidence bags. Evidence
of your improper irony,
your groping, speculative mind.

I’ve also stolen your sex toys,
whether plastic, leather, or bone,
bagged your bags of marijuana
and the vials of crack and crystal meth
you hid behind the wainscoting
in your spare bedroom where lovers
disgruntled by your humours hide.

The first sheets or rain shatter
against the side of the building.
Your room smells like the closets
where families keep their skeletons.
For years you’ve expected me
to search it, leaving your door unlocked
and shouting down the hall as you leave
for your wild nights in vodka bars.

Now I’m sorry. The wigs suggest
beheadings, the glasses muddle
rather than correct my eyesight,
and the underwear would transform me
into the saddest of transvestites
if I were fool enough to wear it
even with no one looking.

Magic Easy to Believe

Arguing at the grave of a witch
hanged in the seventeenth century
you deny that magic can heal
the ruptures in the social fabric
and the leaking oil well in the Gulf.
I want to bring back the stigma

if not the fact of black magic
to frighten our smug politicians
into cleaning up the planet.
You deny, but when you spotted
that car parked at the graveyard
with license plate reading ZOMBIES

you doubted your own denial.
A man toting a tripod with no
camera or telescope attached
may have been the zombie-master
who oversees nightly excursions
in search of edible brains.

Voodoo, you agree, is magic
easy to believe. Its followers,
if they actually attempt to live
on brains, would probably starve
in these united states. None the less
I argue that faith can resolve

the wounds the planet has suffered
if the politicians fear powers
that lobbyists can never bribe.
The witch’s gravestone bears
an hourglass and a curse to keep
the creature dead and decomposed.

You laugh because I want to claim
her powers had some currency
in her era, but the wind in the pines
speaks her language, and the lilt
of a song sparrow by the river
elegizes us as well as her.

© William Doreski 2011

William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009).


  1. I especially like 'Lyra, Cygnus, Libra, Scorpius' for the impenetrable (and therefore true-to-life) relationship is describes, the claustrophobia of the room and how the outside impacts.
    "clutter lends dignity
    to the meeting of our minds.
    You look rumpled by intellect,"
    is a great description.

  2. I enjoyed all three. Quite vivid.


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