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Lynne Thompson: Four Poems

Urban Ars Poetica | Seventeen  Sixteen Fifteen Sure-Fire Ways to Live Like a Poet | Rapid Eye Movement | Fear of the Bit

Urban Ars Poetica

This is a poem about tough customers:
an admitted fetishist who sells shoes for a living,
a chain-smoking busty ballerina, and a dachshund
who keeps his owner on a short, short leash.

In this poem about tough customers, we meet
at a Hollywood flophouse — or is it a fish market?
Me and my pearls, they
with their foul mouths and Amtrak stubs.

All aboard! They know I ainít so bad!

We swap lies the color of sea and just as big.
The fetishist eyes the dog fondly, then wags
his own tail, a little. I take a hit on the ballerinaís
reefer. The dogís owner farts.

Itís a different weather today in L.A., temperature
about $50.00 and a double latte. Bored,
we head for Downey, population humdrum,
though it ainít lower class. They play Miles on the hi-fi

but I know all about Sketches of Spain so I ainít so bad!

Pour another Jack Daniels for us old acrobats — we get
weary wearing the same old tutus. When we run,
we are always late. We miss the spider knitting
our sadly-go-rounds. The ownerís dog always farts.

O.k., this isnít a poem about tough customers
so tie a noose around my loose jargon and syntax—
havenít you heard? Antarticaís ice-cap is melting
and my relatives have moved to ďreturn to senderĒ.

Still, I ainít so bad. I ainít so bad.

Seventeen  Sixteen Fifteen Sure-Fire Ways to Live Like a Poet

Bury your commonplace book where wild dogs will find it.

Hop the A-train for Pinocchioís world.

Dig up the casket letters.

Know yourself to be a husky singer.

Inhale Komunyakaa; exhale Rilke (and keep exhaling).

Train in hopscotch, favorite sport of the gods.

Become your own catcher in the rye.

Get a legitimate goal, like moksha. [1]

Curse the potentates whoíll bring fire next time.

Become a cheeky featherbed.

Set the table with Excalibur — edge to your guests.

Walk in the heels of a hadji. [2]

Leave dust tracks on a road.

Solve the arithmetic in your Cherrios.

Publish all inadmissible evidence and
turn back time on its curly red hair.

    [1] Spiritual release.

    [2] Pilgrim.

Rapid Eye Movement

While sleeping, I am many different things —
much more than just cous-cous or rum whiskey.

Only last night, I was a fur ball but usually Iím
not even from this country. Time travel isnít

a problem: for a solid week, I lived in Vivaldiís
metronome. Seconds later, I was a star over

the Taj Mahal. Wherever I am sleeping, some
think Iím a watered-down milkshake while others

insist that once I was Salomeís black slip, a bill
of attainder, an attar of Antigua and punk rock.

Theyíre stunned to learn Iíve vacationed in landfills
and know where the spud suckers live, they & their

irrepressible squeegiees. So, you smarmy heathens,
you donít have to build a better breast for love to

come on full throttle. Just hide your mismatched socks,
tooth decay, terror and please, please donít wake me.

Fear of the Bit

First, I developed a fear of pronouns
and underpants,then, of tin. Next,
I noticed my parents feared evolution
and abstract paintings. They taught me
to fear one-liners, drywall and the entire
state of Georgia. I taught myself to fear
receptacles, sportscasters, corkscrews
and the number nine. I began to speak
with others, some of whom admitted
to a fear of interbreeding and nomads;
a clan of wild gypsies fear Big Ben; some
Christians own up to a fear of the Jews.
I've even heard that race-horses have
an understandable fear of the bit.
My firstborn — a sweet, smart thing —
says that he's learned to fear statuary
but his sister says that she fears fear.

Poet's Biography:
Lynne Thompson is a lawyer by training and a poet by passion. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Runes, Louisiana Literature, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review and Poetry International. Her chapbook We Arrive By Accumulation was published by SeaMoon Press in 2002.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.