flea market

old glass fractures light to rainbow splinters
hot enough to scorch wood
mechanical birds pipe their song
back and forth wound

hot enough to scorch wood
neon parrots, scarlet macaws, ultramarine parakeets
back and forth wound
chained to the same notes over and over,

neon parrots, scarlet macaws, ultramarine parakeets
interrupting or punctuating bored women
chained to the same notes over and over,
hawking watches, hatpins, fragile scarves tenuous as cobwebs

interrupting or punctuating bored women
the bird voices wound up or slowing
hawking watches, hatpins, fragile scarves tenuous as cobwebs
twine with shouts of sunburnt men fondling cantaloupe round and heavy,

the bird voices wound up or slowing
spiced with bloodwarm tomatoes, voluptuous peaches.
twine with shouts of sunburnt men fondling cantaloupe round and heavy,
a  song winding down over some grandma’s china

spiced with bloodwarm tomatoes, voluptuous peaches.
unwound, the birdsong is a siren insisting I must want beads
a  song winding down over some grandma’s china
bright as August,  pearls cast in sunset plastic

unwound, the birdsong is a siren insisting I must want beads
the birds whisper that if their wings worked
bright as August, pearls cast in sunset plastic
they would stream ultramarine and scarlet, cerulean and crimson

the birds whisper that if their wings worked
those wings would shape a clean wind
they would stream ultramarine and scarlet, cerulean and crimson
scatter baseball cards & bubblegum rings,

those wings would shape a clean wind
overturn shelves stuffed with pulp fiction
scatter baseball cards & bubblegum rings,
liberate a book of Roethke’s poems

overturn shelves stuffed with pulp fiction
full of bones & water & sun
liberate a book of Roethke’s poems
turning my face up for a kiss

full of bones & water & sun
mechanical birds pipe their song
turning my face up for a kiss
as old glass fractures light to rainbow splinters

***this pantoum was originally a sound and color experiment I did a long, long time ago.  posted the original experiment here in April:  https://susandanielseden.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/flea-market/

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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16 Responses to flea market

  1. This afternoon a pileated woodpecker startled us both as he flew off to another tree. That resonating call and response anticipated, unexpectedly, this homage to birds, feathers and a flight of poetic fancy to Roethke. Natural beauty, preternatural artistry. Cheers.

  2. Bruce Ruston says:

    I like you use of form here

  3. mimijk says:

    This is so visually rich Susan, I have to stop every so often and just absorb the beauty..

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I think the form works here because I “feel” the clutter (aural, physical) of a flea market.

    Now, how do we get a poem to smell cluttered and busy?

    • Oh, darn. Scratch and sniff?

      Now that’s just laziness on my part–I had you all smelling and tasting the midway.

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        You did. But how do we introduce smell into the crowd?

        I really like the poem, the proximity of everything. I’m just wondering about smell now too. You’ve laid down a challenge. . . .

        • Hmmm–17 years ago in Florida, how did this crowd smell? Don’t remember. Probably a combo of new sweat and floral perfume…will look at that challenge later, after I curl up with a good book 🙂

  5. this is terribly alive in my mind! Loved it!

  6. nelle says:

    That…was a shitload of fun, and goes in my unofficial top three of your work.

  7. Wow! This is something else, Susan.

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