Locked in the beauty of the pearl, far from frail,
         these people who claim to love us still
they don’t give up much, do they, sealed? To eradicate class—
      the looking glass of it, the complex glare: “Let me introduce
xxx, impoverished poet.” Winter let up
     like a terrible religion. In its wake, a politics came,
      profane. You were on a train
from Philly to Mass. Winter let up like bands and globes
      and globules and I could feel the trade ships
in my bloodstream, the blood that made me,
        and I wanted to kill it
       really bad like a war path. They said my poems
         were a mess. Well, if that’s the case, then, go ahead.
Strike one match and the mansion will go up in its own ash,
in its obsession with accumulation against the glint of trees.

More by Sandra Simonds

Red Wand

Sometimes I try to make poetry but mostly 
    I try to earn a living. There's something still living
 in every urn, I am sure of it. The ash moves 
       around inside the vase like the magnetic filings that make 
the moustache of Wooly Willy. Maybe a new face counts 
      as reincarnation. The wand says, "I'll be your ostrich,
 if you'll be my swan." In this life, what did I do wrong?  
I think my heart is a magnet too. It attracts anything
 that attracts joy like the summer grasses the swans track through. 
       OMG, how in love I am with joy and with yours—how I know 
that adding to it would only take it further off course, 
      off its precarious center, so for once, I won't touch it.
 I will stand wand-length away—let it 
    glide stupidly on its weightless line, without me.

Ode to Country Music

If I wasn't such a deadbeat, I'd learn Greek.
    I wouldn't write sonnets; I'd write epics
and odes. I'd love a man who was
    acceptable and conformed to every code.
I'd put together my desk and write my epic or ode
    at sunset over my suburb. How I would love my shrubs!
But all I do is listen to country (and the occasional Joni)
    and smoke. Judge me judge me
judge me. Oh I've been through the shallows.
    I shallow. I hope. I hole. I know
I wrote you the most brutal love poem that knows.

Sorcery

I’m a witch who lost all her powers, then
   in place of my powers, I got the coiled beauty
of seashells and sleeping infants. The coiled
beauty of eardrums, and the sound wave
of bells. The bells! This is the country of clouds.
       The molten body, the Floridian pinks,
       and centuries of sand dollars examining
the arcing waves. New territory
of interiority and I’m in the middle of this.
   White like a negative belt.
I am an airless thing. When I get high, I get low.
           But I’m real and airless and love you.

Related Poems

Aubade to Langston

When the light wakes & finds again
the music of brooms in Mexico,
when daylight pulls our hands from grief,
& hearts cleaned raw with sawdust
& saltwater flood their dazzling vessels,
when the catfish in the river
raise their eyelids towards your face,
when sweetgrass bends in waves
across battlefields where sweat
& sugar marry, when we hear our people
wearing tongues fine with plain
greeting: How You Doing, Good Morning
when I pour coffee & remember
my mother's love of buttered grits,
when the trains far away in memory
begin to turn their engines toward
a deep past of knowing,
when all I want to do is burn
my masks, when I see a woman
walking down the street holding her mind
like a leather belt, when I pluck a blues note
for my lazy shadow & cast its soul from my page,
when I see God's eyes looking up at black folks
flying between moonlight & museum,
when I see a good-looking people
who are my truest poetry,
when I pick up this pencil like a flute
& blow myself away from my death,
I listen to you again beneath the mercy
of a blue morning's grammar.