Rose and other poems

ROSE

when it’s behind my knees
you’d have to fall to the
floor, lower your whole
body like horses in a field
to smell it. White Rose,
Bulgarian rose. I think of
sheets I’ve left my scent in
as if to stake a claim for
someone who could never
care for anything alive.
This Bulgarian rose,
spicy, pungent, rose as my
16th birthday party dress,
rose lips, nipples. If you
won’t fall to your knees, at
least, please, nuzzle like those
horses, these roses, somewhere

equal opportunity offender, Shalom Neuman
Shalom Neuman

IF THOSE BLOSSOMS DON’T COME

if the tangerine doesn’t
fill the house with thick
sweetness. If you put
your hands over your
ears one more time
when I’m talking. If
there’s another month
of wanting to sleep all
day, the cat the warmest
sweet thing I can imagine.
If this damn rain doesn’t
let up, I’m going to
have to rewrite the story
you’ve got in your head
about us and I don’t
think you will like
the ending

LETTER

the other day made it
hard not to think of
you reading in rooms
with strange light
and magical ceilings
so with water crashing

near the bed and a
green wind biting
the glass I wanted
to send you in the
damned poem. You
could press it
against a small cut,
it could make prisms

in your window spin
ivy into 12 slices
of the room. My
Swedish ivy is
dying, I forgot
what you said it
needed, but not
the rest

HAVEN’T YOU EVER WANTED TO USE THE WORD INDIGO?

the way it rolls off your tongue, blue,
mysterious. It’s rather old fashioned tho
but when you run out of words for the
blues, doesn’t indigo give it a little
class? Then, I think of Millay with her
indigo buntings, curled on the same
velvet couches I have tho they’ve been
re-covered, not indigo but a chocolate
brown. One visitor stopping at Steepletop
in Edna’s last years mentioned how
shabby the sofas were. I think how
Vincent gave up her velvets, lovers, drugs
for the stillness. Except for the buntings.
But I digress. Indigo. I had to listen to
The Indigo girls, found I liked their name
better. I’d like to say I found the metaphor
to cinch this poem, to pull any reader
into Indigo ecstasy when I found some
E Mail about the film Indigo Children
but when I put the name on Google,
what I read lacked all iridescent blue,
that startling hypnotic glistening. Less
there than the marine’s startling icy eyes,
indigo jolting as sequins from deep under
ground as my real life pales

BLUE AT THE TABLE IN THE HOT SUN

give him a shot of light,
give him ragged glass
to escape thru,
black cat blues dogging
the bed

He, ok, it’s you, hell bound,
in a hurry. You’re pulling blue
out of the strings. Mama’s got

a brand new. It’s the table
in the light. Cat on the chair
with night scratching

Wind rattles the panes,
rattles gone love thru your
spine. Your baby’s
changed the lock on the door

If you’re still singing,
earth fills your lips

MAHO BAY, NEAR THE ATROLOGER’S TABLE

yellow bird on
the table, two
curious lizards.
At the next
chair, Neptune
is rising, a fire
luring vibrations,
a time to invite
in. “You are over
whelmed, even
cosmically,” she
drifts off. I go
back to the piece
I’m working
on, the secret my
mother never
told me, as
mysterious

JULY 23

she lets dread
take the form of
tulips, bulbs
planted before
white camouflages
sky. It’s too late
to remember
forgotten
camisole, lace.
Only papers
torn from confetti
on the 2 by 4
floor, the abstraction
of terror, other
cities people left
at night, herbs
never picked,
running through
ephemera, writing
the footnotes
before the text

THE BLACK SILK SKIRT FALLING

as if it was her,
something in her
leaving, stepping
out of her last
skin, chrysalis
about to be free
as the grackles
she watched those
last days. This
dream on the eve
of my mother’s
birthday, there
was something in
the sound of her
skirt falling,
a pool blacker
than midnight
nothing was
reflected in. Then
the whoosh, the
wind of where
she was and then
wasn’t. These days
of rain, as if to
wash her away.
Still, like the water
fall outside our
apartment window,
she tumbles like
a river, so loud and
close to me I
forget she
isn’t