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February 28, 2019 Poetry

3 Poems

Tom Paine

3 Poems photo

A Crescent Moon/Behind the Pines/
The Cry of a Loon/Where the River Winds/
The Blackened Trees/On the Long Gray Shire/ 
A Sob in the Breeze/That the Day is No More

I’m in conversation with Helen Dudley about “Reed-Song” 
her poem published in Poetry, 1915. I wish you were alive! 
There are no more crescent moons or light, pining poets. 
I am coming to you, Helen. I pass twelve white pines 
daily fantasizing about you, Helen, as the pines blacken
by a liquid-free river. It can’t wind. But those last pines,
those blackened trees, and the sob of that tragic loon?
You didn’t write: “the last loon/ will not shake feathers/ 
from the invasive reeds/ to sing again.” But my Helen,
the loon lapsed and “the day is no more” is totally true! 
I am coming, Helen! I want to listen to your Reed-Song!
This morning the quizzical barista asked: “who is Elvis?” 
Elvis is a sob in the breeze that Helen’s cry is no more


She Talks of Women in Refrigerators 
as Lagoons of Pink Pig Shit Overflow 

We motored over black corn stalks 
and beakless chickens in a pontoon 
boat in Duplin County. You know, 
she said, the sexist movie trope—
the male hero finds his girlfriend 
in the fridge? She got quiet. Cows 
mooed on a porch. She said it is so
time to take the vote from all men. 
She said lagoons of pig shit is sick 
like stuffing a woman in the fridge. 
Anaerobic bacteria turn the lagoons 
like Pepto-Bismol. Did I too eat pig? 
The mist is piss and aerosolized shit.
Nitrogen from the pig shit in the air 
binds to hemoglobin and the blood 
cells can’t carry oxygen. That’s why 
the face of her baby looks all blue. 
Ahab in a boat spears a pig carcass 
in his flooded front yard and hooks 
her by a hock and winches her aloft. 
She is gassed with a decaying farrow, 
and with a hot cracking piglets splash 
like red stones. An elephantine snout 
of humorous pink curiosity revolves.



You said: the moon is the moon 
but I forget it’s hanging there, 
as I forget the moon in me.

Sometimes I freeze on a blue 
sky day, because a big rock 
is hanging in the damn sky?

Do you remember the mobster
Cymon? He orbited to crescent 
soul with a glance at Iphigenia. 

Say the word moon with your 
moon lips: now please god say 
my name. How does a rock float?


image: Pete Johnson