by David Hunter Sutherland.
The Black Flower of Brzezinka
"Just to get up each morning is to make a kind of peace."
-Leonard Cohen, Lines From My Grandfather's Journal.
Rouge, ocher, alizarin, blood,
Colors of a flower west of Krakow,
Petals of a genus whose rose madder pollen
Scatters fields near Upper Silesia.
Its sister phylum - Birkenau,
A womb of ruddy ovules and hardened tubes
Withers against leaf and spills out
Onto the dark sepal of Salonika,
A calyx of chambers and empty whorls
Paints Krema's stained corolla
With ash and cinder and coke.
For illusion as rule
Is the knowing or not knowing,
A panicle for skeleton, a stamen for limb,
The pas seul of a breeze or its solitude
Shakes the bud from its stem onto the hard gravel
Or to the living earth.
Her Beads of Mercy
"Give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy
Somewhere her will pries open charity;
Open doors, lifts eaves,
Like an unseen helper endures
A creature-hood of china and fine drapes.
Somehow in a lifetime gathered
These costly gems and stones
Adorn her chest as she rubs
A bead in palm, each one an eye
That renders indistinct his memory.
More precious now the cut and clarity
Of what recedes with age,
What rivals the brilliance of diamonds
Still casts the right light,
The right color against a grief
Too precious to wear.
Orpheus: A Monologue
With virtuosity close to hand
The remaining cymbal as heavy as a tie iron
Lets out its Dash-echo-dash...
As today's performance, not unlike yesterday's,
Comes to end. Shortly after our wedding
She will run off with the drummer, overwhelmed
With passion she'll carry on where fierce bands
Of jazzmen, swingers and hepcats resonate
Underground. And I will play an old Basie
Let the funk and fusion melt away
The enchanted rocks and rivers and trees,
Then bury my lyre beside my best muse.
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