Poem de Fickle
My poem looked at another poet.
How could you crush me this way,
Why did you betray me? I gave
You the best lines of my life.
I worked my pen down to the bare
Nib, murmured words of love, ached
For your motif. Sacrificed for you
Like no other. Remained faithful even
When tempted by younger forms.
Who is it? Yeats, Eliot, Stevens,
Or some bad boy postmodern
Deconstructionist who wouldn’t
Know a sonnet from a cento? Do you think
me an ode poet? Did he tell you that he
would dress you up as a love sonnet?
Make of you a Mexican sestina?
Did he lie through lyrics, swear that the
two of you would be a couplet?
Did he seduce with rhetorical rhyme?
I bet he promised new meter, cooed
That he had never met a personification
Like you, that you were the hottest
Imagery on the page, destined to be an epic.
When he sticks his foot in his hyperbole,
Reveals what an idiom he is, when the
Stress is too much to scan, and he proves
To be a villanelle, you will return to my
Rhythm and scansion, trope run home.
I dreamed that I was the seasons.
Each in its turn, each out of order.
As summer a fertile woman prepared
to be draped with long, slow days,
ripening blood berries, the ascent
and decline of tides matching my
As spring the holy chorus of mating
birds nesting in my hair, sharp cracks
of ice splintering apart like lines on
my hands, sun making of my eyes an
equinox for the living.
As winter the lost kiss of lost boys and girls
hiding behind crusted trees, silent speech
tongued from a language of the land that
uttered this alphabet only once before
erasing the letters in snow.
As fall the time of russet sorrows,
burned sienna songs, fat nuts filling
the jaws of the anxious, trees unzipping
their skin to bare bark, naked days
Asleep, awake, drowsy—mind’s succession,
epicenter for mortal equinox.
Dr. Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. He has been published widely in over 50 journals including Agenda, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review and many others. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014. A book Lost Houses and American Renditions is scheduled for publication in May 2015 by Aldrich Press.