Janet Buck: Two Poems
War's Dominos | Crushed Paperbacks
It's been three months since
towers fell in a poisonous maze
undoing every fairy tale
we've ever read of innocence.
Puff the magic dragon cranes
still dig in 24-hour shifts.
One man's head on blaming platters
feeds the growl of revenge,
draws the pus of tragedy
like flies to feces in a barn.
The war Jacuzzi's blood is warm.
Sadness needs a place to stew.
Its dominos go slat to slat.
Bombs have babies.
Bigger bugs eat smaller bugs.
There's no such thing as pure retort
a spreading rash of guts and rain.
The CIA is rifling through
old sealed cavesone man's beard
is pubic hair around a rape.
Death begets another death
like gnat wings multiply and eat.
Snowfall in its chastity
seems dandruff from a lock-less scalp.
Suffer's tongue is like a match
that lights all candles in a church.
Grief makes balls and aims the ice.
Justice is a bent spoon. Its metal tired.
But I am still hungry and hurt,
rubbing the white coals of my eyes
embedded in the unconscionable.
We look to Christmas for renewal,
hug a little tighter now
even if our tendons tear.
I cannot think of Santa's hat
down chimney slots
without the plague of New York ash.
At the mouth of the plane,
I shake like a wet dog
who never wanted a bath.
Our tickets are hummingbird wings
but I doubt the shape of the bud.
What I once considered
serene and sure, a casual ride
30,000 easy feet in pristine air,
a carriage trot on steel tubes,
is now a macabre waltz.
I want to stay home, cuddled and warm
under the torn blanket of luck.
The dead return to my skull
rows of ants to sugar sap.
Maybe they'll strike again.
Three months of watching CNN
hate seems like a heavyweight
that tests the rope around a ring.
The box of a room has changed.
Weather stripping starts to peel.
It's a silly dance with the odds.
Unlikely as August snow.
But the world is a painting
someone gutted by sword.
The canvas remembers
the shape of the scar.
My husband repeats our cause:
"Acquiesce to terror's grip
you'll drown in fear;
then liberty will join
the thousands in their graves."
Sad to mad; mad to wise.
I tug at his arm
my iron rail for steep, steep stairs.
New York ash comes creeping in
like winter fog on rabid foam.
Sonnet of faith, a cheap antique
a paperback with binding loose
in puddles of the dirty rain.
Janet Buck, Ph.D. is the author of four collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in CrossConnect, Zang Spur Review, Pif Magazine, Slow Trains, The Dakota House Journal, The Melic Review, Drunk Duck, Stirring, The Rose & Thorn, Avatar Review, pith, Perihelion, In Motion, OffCourse, and hundreds of journals world-wide. In the year 2000, Janet was one of ten U.S. poets to be featured at the "One Heart, One World" Exhibit at the United Nations Exhibit Hall in New York City. Her poem "Acrylic Thighs" was translated into five languages and paired with original artwork. The tour traveled to France, Australia, Vietnam, Brazil, and Japan. In 2001-2002, Buck's poetry is scheduled to appear in PoetryBay, The Montserrat Review, Runes, The Pedestal Magazine, Concrete Wolf, The Carriage House Review, Swagazine, PoetryRepairShop, Slow Trains, Verse Libre Quarterly, Wicked Alice, Facets, Southern Ocean Review, Artemis, The American Muse, and The Pittsburgh Quarterly. Recent awards include The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence, First Place in Kimera's Poetry Contest 2001, Editor's Choice Award for Sol Magazine, and the 2001 Kota Press Anthology Prize. In 2001, Janet's poem "The Teapoy" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Pedestal Magazine.