Memories Suspended by Filaments
-in the voice of Joseph Cornell
The house is small, but it has room for dreams.
For birds, books, stamps, stars, marbles, butterflies,
balls, dolls, my brother Robert, maps, romance,
playing cards, lace, lobsters, small sticky hope.
Eyes down, I walk the streets of Manhattan,
eat pastries, sweet, stale, talk to pigeons, find
orphaned desires in gutters, in dime stores,
in second-hand shops with dusty windows.
I discover, gather, magpie away.
My treasures hibernate waiting, sleeping
in basement shelf rows, labeled by heartbeats
slowed to a drip. When my dossiers have lived
together long enough, I take them out,
let them speak, cherish them in my boxes,
where parrots talk of sunsets, and clay pipes
float and fill with a summer of bubbles.
Behind glass, my birds and my women sing,
locked into universes I create,
where lovers are dancers, princesses, queens,
secrets detained in shining glass bottles.
I sing the juene fille Lauren Bacall,
slender Botticelli, silent in blue,
construct a pink palace with sapphire stars.
I mediate history for the Prince
of the Medici, give him a compass
so he finds and he follows true love. Oh,
Bebe Marie, you are so beautiful,
pale pink, hidden among silvery twigs.
My poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Poetry East, and Poetry New Zealand, among many others, and are included in four anthologies. I have published two books, Embers on the Stairs (FutureCycle Press),and Fugitive Pigments (Moon Tide Press.) Two more books, No Longer at this Address (Tebot Bach) and Flour, Water, Salt (FutureCycle Press) are forthcoming.
The Ekphrastic Review
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