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May 17, 2013 | Poetry

5 Poems

Virginia Konchan

5 Poems photo

 

Dolores Haze at the Barre

Glissade, pas de bourrée.  I stole a bottle of Cointreau from mother’s liquor cabinet.
The poor dear drinks, like me, alone.  I welcome the lashing words of my superiors:

Mlle. Haze—and the rest, a blur of reedy supplications for my shell-pink statuette
that prefers to remain pre-pubescent than in the alien détente of word v. world.

If only . . . but I am here to learn decorum, politesse and how to get on with the other
rail-thin, bloody-toed girls, and resist the advances of those whose love would destroy.

After class, I enter Victory Gardens Theater, sink low in my velveteen chair.
Grace Kelly, High Noon’s muse, films my eye:  muzak, canned drivel, my mind.

 

Dolores Haze Drops $300 at an Antiquarian Bookstore

Persona non grata, I slouch against
wood-paneled décor, fuchsia nails
thumbing through the sorcery of Montesquieu.
Can I help you, asks the gnarly old man, his life
spent within the hoary cover of a textile factory,
protected, no, shielded, from public view.
I cannot afford to buy Edmund Spenser’s
“THE FAERIE QUEEN” (London, 1751:
3-vol. set, quarto. 1st English Edition,
original calf & gilt bindings:  $12,500). 
I instead buy the BRUCE LEE
collection:  67 different magazines
featuring his 1990s prowess.
All clean.  Pile one foot tall.
I walk out that much broker,
wanting to have bought each
RARE JEM, as advertised.
What care I for karate?
The gulf between desire
and means will be
the death of us all.


Dolores Haze’s Love Letter to the World

The crepe de chine of my floor-length
gown dusts the corridor through which
I pass, en route to the governor’s ball,
glass of Crémant d'Alsace in my
fusilladed hand.  Were this an
opera, the flautist would be
poised, instrument aloft,
in the orchestral pit:
as it stands, it’s a book,
pages burning, and I
its author slash muse,
inaugurating speech
from my head-set,
master console
at headquarters
crackling, crackling,
before lighting this
Victorian melodrama
(smoke and mirrors
of De Profundis)
on fire.

 

Dolores Haze Volunteers in an Oncology Ward

A candy-striper, I am good
for little but watching nurses
administer hycamtin, cytoxan,
paraplatin, and neosar
in catheters the width
of a pen.  To Rhonda
I croon hymns from
church-going days:
Swing Low, Sweet
Chariot
, and Beneath
Are the Everlasting
Arms
.  Diagnoses
terminal in the
charnel house,
split infinitives
useless except
except the desire
to quietly die,
excepting a miracle
beyond morphine:
burnt tissue
of thanatos,
ember of the
all-seeing eye.

 

Sub Specie Aeterni, Selon de Dolores Haze

New England, 1945:
alone in a city park
on my gingham blanket,
tatami mat for meditation
of the future, or sprawl.
If an infected ant crawls
above the colony, the
fungus kills them all: 
the sick are carried
from the colony,
dropped on the jungle
floor.  I know this
sharp declension:
dawn sacrifice by
the girls at recess
for abandoning
rank, when Humbert,
my demon shadow,
crossed the threshold
of my inconsequence:
a stainless steel,
meat cooler door.

 

image: Andromeda Veach


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