* NOTICE: Mr. Center's Wall is on indefinite hiatus. Got something to say about it? Click HERE and type.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Poetry XL -- "The Third Coast," 1979

There is no more sure-fire way to ensure the "datedness" of a book than subtitling it, in part, with the word "contemporary," in this case, "Contemporary Michigan Poetry," another book, very much like You've Been Told, from a couple weeks ago, that I have (didn't buy, but inherited) but haven't read.  So, today, I will peruse the collection and, in real time, randomly choose three poems.  Here they are, contemporary or not, in all the glory (your thoughts are welcome):

Death and the Pineapple
Dan Gerber, pp 57-58
The fruit itself a giant pinecone
Texture of an apple     the taste
An apple flavored with pine
If I died I couldn’t eat pineapples
Couldn’t slice them with a large knife
Or say the word that conjures the taste
Pie-napple     pine-apple
Couldn’t run my hands
Down the rough sides
Or over the bushy top
Let its juice drizzle down my chin
Or wipe it away
With the back of my hand
Rub it in my hair     gargle it
Ponder the origin of its name
Throw it at a strange and beautiful
Woman on the rue Saint-Jacques
Imagine a trip to Hawaii

The pineapple
Is what we give up when we die
Along with strawberries     coffee and sun
The room hovers about me
One more skull
The trees around the house
The sky around the tree
The stars around the sky
How could I escape so many enclosures
What would I see
What tastes     what sins
And if existence exists in space
What space     I can’t imagine nothing

A house I once visited
Had a pineapple over the door
A pineapple over the newel post
A pineapple in the center of the table
Surely these people had lived
They said it was their family crest
My sign     my life
A galaxy of pineapples

I considered all the pineapples
Growing under the sun
And will enjoy the good of my labor
All the days of my pineapple
For there is a wicked man
Who prolongeth his pineapple
In his wickedness
And not a just man on earth
That doeth good and sinneth not

In the Winter of Tigers
Tom McKeown, p150
In the winter of tigers,
After the zoo closes, the sun
Smokes and thins out, seeds
Leap from an apple’s core,
Wheat whispers loudly
To the earth, to startled snow.

A crow plummets
Through the calm sky
Like a black parachute
That never opens.

In the middle of winter, the tigers
Walk up the snowy mountains
And spread out with the snow,
Until there is only snow and tigers,
And the memories of tigers,
Invisible against the snow.

At St. Mary’s for the Aged
Eve Shelnutt, p235
She thinks God wants a wife.
She would like to lie with Him.
Would He make her pretty,
Or take her as she is?
Where, around Him, do the arms go?

The jealous Sisters see her rise;
Their hands cross on the door.
She dies and, dead,
Is not denied.
The Sisters lifting bones
Are satisfied.


  1. after first reading i loved these poems. i haven't re-read them yet for their deeper meaning.

  2. I think that's one of the great thing about these poems: they're very approachable, yet there's more if you're indeed willing and able to take a longer look.

    Glad you liked them!


Be sure to subscribe to the thread to receive discussion updates.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...