Attention NaPoWriMoers, you're in the home stretch of week of one! Don't you feel like an olympian?!?
Today's prompt: write a poem about an animal. All my poems are about animals, even the ones that are about people. Which reminds me...
Exterminator by Lucien Stryk
Phone vibrates all winter. The
yet another squeal, demanding
he come fast. He plays at cat
and mouse, stalling them for hours,
days. Then pocketing thick
gloves, flashlight, steelwool,
poison, he enters musty corners,
sets dry traps, pours tempting
pellets into little paper boats,
launches them here and there.
As he stuffs holes, he contemplates
the toughness of a world which
outlaws creatures he has learned
to love: starved them from frozen
corn-stripped fields, small wonder
they outsmart those who grudge them
a few crumbs, a little warmth. The
exterminator does his job, takes his
money, leaves. In the long run of
things, he knows who will survive.
Now onto the NaPoWRiMo poems!
Called loving, divine pelican,
these seapilgrims dive for fish,
amphibians and crustaceans
with the precision of a throat pouch
which balloons with gallons
of seawater after every hunt.
To go under water and resurface,
pelicans earned a reputation
for resurrection and sacrifice –
older birds congregate on islands,
and meet to mate in colonies,
while young ones stick their bills
deep into their parents’ mouths
to collect salt-eared meals.
Ours are plentiful, and solitary,
they swing by the causeway
on sun-whittled afternoons,
and will stand on wood posts
in the yacht-cluttered marina for hours
like the elderly neighbors I had
when I lived in Queens,
New York, just more approachable,
the ladies and men who watched
from windows, noting who passed
by in what outfit with whom at what hour,
reporters with no periodical,
they knew more than the police
department – all that gold with no
box to hold it. The ancient Moche
of Peru idolized pelicans in statues
carved from stone, and made
music from their bones
of pared flutes with a sound, not siren
strong, not soft like the wooden
flutes played by South American
troupes in subway stations
in cities like New York and further north,
not song exactly, but a chant
like wave and air meeting,
a sound between earth and ether,
music translated by man who can’t walk
on water or fly without machines
or miracles. The pelican knows
how we would give over
our unwebbed toes for an hour
just to know how it feels to move
between worlds, how to maneuver
the sea’s language, the wind’s tongue,
but it would never trade
its proud bill, its exceptional pouch
for our earth-numb feet
or featherless arms, our plates or forks
or knives, gravity-ridden, and even our songs
ever seeking flight.
He Wishes For The Glockenspiel Of Heaven (After Yeats)
for Danny Federici
What were they thinking,
adding that high school
marching band sound?
Was that the point:
stepping out of those years
and into reluctant adulthood?
In German it means
did they know that?
I wish I could stop wondering
about it sometimes,
though doing so doesn't really hurt anyone.
Just add it to the list,
I love to drive!
Sometimes I'm not driving
by some whales.
Sometimes I'm driving by whales
but not the right ones.
There are whales everywhere.
Johnny Whaleseed painted a lot of whales
in the seventies?
I love a line drive.
Straight outta Fenway!