When I Worked for Madonna
The bodyguards wear white
The bullets fly towards them
The bodyguards are clouds
The bullets do not penetrate
Kaddafi. The bullets are precipitation
After we drink coffee, we check
the bird feeders. Kaddafi has purple
martins on his shoulders. The bodyguards
are snowy egrets. Forget
in both directions from this moment
I am right in front of you
I have a rifle
I am sexually wonderful
like a horse
* * *
Joanna Ruocco is the author of Man's Companions (Tarpaulin Sky). No Tell Motel first published this poem in January 2009. Joanna wrote, "One time, my friend, Brian Conn, was waiting to cross the street and he saw a big squirrel standing next to him on the sidewalk. The big squirrel was standing quite still, holding a smaller squirrel in its mouth. Brian Conn watched the big squirrel and the big squirrel watched the traffic. Suddenly, the big squirrel ran into the street and threw the smaller squirrel under the wheels of a car.
I didn't write these poems thinking about that story. However, I am very interested in animals, sudden death, and misapprehensions of all kinds.
My father used to smoke cigars with a squirrel. This was in New York City. My father would lean out the window and the squirrel would balance on a branch of the sycamore tree and they would share Garcia Y Vegas.
I don't know how to reconcile these two encounters with squirrels. Maybe a gap in the universe opens between irreconcilable encounters with squirrels, and this gap has something to do with poetry?
All animals should wear orange in the woods and sing loudly."