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February 4, 2022 Poetry

Two Poems

Tom Snarsky

Two Poems photo

Song of Restoration

for Kristi

In the chandelier hospital
I’ve been sleeping on a little cot
attending the mysteries 
of healing. You are still
dazzling, but in fragments;——
everywhere a hint of a whole. 

September is saying its long goodbye
as ants march up the juice box.
Most planets are probably so
much quieter than ours.
You are sleeping. I am looking
at your face and seeing it as
night’s greatest gift: the slack that
with diamonds or glass
throws light all over the room.


What Can & Cannot Pass Thru The Green Glass Door

A happy person, but not a sad person. Grass, but not flowers. A flotilla of ships, but not an army. Bullets, but not a gun. A needle, but not its syringe. Sadness, but not death. Parallel lines, but not perpendicular. A sunny day, but not a rainy one. Floors, but not ceilings. Rotten fruit, but not fresh. Pebbles, but not the sand. The Gospel of Matthew, but not the Gospel of John. The Book of Revelations, but not the Song of Songs. A cello, but not a violin. Olivier Messiaen, but not his birds. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” but not The Red Badge of CourageAll Dogs Go to Heaven, but not Oliver & Company. Corruption, but not the void. Errors in judgment, but not honest mistakes. The shape of a bell, but not the shape of a heart. A glimmer, but not a glint. Cookie cutters, but not brownie pans. A scintilla of hope, but not despair. Running, but not walking. Halie Theoharides’s Into the Leaf Gloom, but not Ben Mirov’s A Few Ideas from My Blackbox. Manna, but not bread. Gluttony, but not sloth. Songs of Innocence, but not Songs of Experience. The middle, but not the end. Hemming, but not hawing. A good feeling, but not a bad idea. Tissue paper, but not the gift bag it came in. A tattoo, but not a story. Beer, but not wine. Addiction, but not alcoholism. Repression, but not love. Clinical depression, but not clinical anxiety. Green eggs, but not ham. Nikki Grace, but not Laura Dern. Mulholland Drive, but not Inland Empire. A channel, but not the sea. Bugaboo Creek, but not The Ground Round. Braintree, but not Plymouth. My immediate family, but not my extended family. A wedding reception, but not its venue. A happening, but not an event. Stravinsky’s Le rossignol, but not Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps. Yellow gold, but not rose gold. Fool’s gold, but not the real thing. A professor, but not a teacher. Disappointment, but not pride. A lily-of-the-valley, but not a regular lily. Plainness, but not ostentation. Renaissance, but not Baroque. Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, but not Wanda Coleman. Countee Cullen, but not Langston Hughes. lucille clifton, but not Hoa Nguyen. Will Alexander, but not W. H. Auden. A villanelle, but not a sestina. Ted Berrigan, but not the poem itself. John Berryman, but not the wind. Sappho, but not the lyre. Inanna, but not Ariana Reines. Eternal recurrence, but not the neutrality of being. Gilles Deleuze, but not Spinoza. Félix Guattari, but not Lacan. Sibylle Baier, but not Jackson C. Frank. Kennings, but not epithets. The Green Knight, but not Sir Gawain. Goosebumps, but not Animorphs. K. A. Applegate, but not R. L. Stine. François Villon, but not the rest of traditional French verse. The moon, but not the spirit of the thief. Lawrence Ferlinghetti (RIP), but not poetry. A big umbrella, but not the precipitation it protects you from. Withheld reasons, but not invented names. Coffee, but not tea. A hidden landscape, but not the early work of John Ashbery. Some Trees, but not Turandot and Other Poems. Forgotten, but not gone. Settings, but not preferences. Choose-your-own-adventure, but not science fiction. Omeed, but not Daniel or the others. James Turrell, but not the light. Blood, but not anything real. High school, but not kindergarten. Scott, but not Kyle. A little lingering doubt, but not animal meat consumption. The will to live, but not cute plants. The beginning, but not a warm shadow of wherever we are now. Goodbye, but not forever.


image: Carabella Sands