The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Barbara Crooker
The Bossy Letter R
(phrase from my son, David, who has autism)
Live or Evil, Rats or Star
What happened when you renamed meander?
The Paper Clip
Two u's, standing at attention.
A couple of mouths
with a jones for paper.
A thin slip of twisted
wire. A bend in the silver,
brass, or candy striped creek.
like the staple,
the brisk click
one sheet to another,
the paper clip's more
for dating, casual
one night stands.
sometimes a mark
remains, a faint scar,
a thumb nail indentation,
of what once was,
and now is, no more.
The Last Painting
Arshile Gorky Retrospective, Philadelphia Museum of Art
I'd always seen his name wrong, Ashile, not Arshile,
missed the "r completely, didn't see the demarcation
of its black arc breaking up the greasy softness of "ah" and "sh."
I didn't know about the studio fire that destroyed ten years' work,
the cancer that smoldered in his gut, the marriage that went up
in flames. So he did a painting called "Agony," reds flickering
into browns, then a series of smudged grisailles: "Charred Beloved."
About art, he said, "I don't like the word "finish," painted "The Limit"
just before he reached it, took the rope, its oval mouth like one
of his biomorphic shapes, placed it around his neck, stepped
off the chair.
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