Pine Cones Evolve into People like You by William Doreski

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A man attempts to drown himself
in a washing machine. Dragging him
from the Laundromat by his feet

I dump him in the street, wring him out,
and chide him for shocking the women
laundering weeks of smutty diapers.

Of course he was lately your lover
but was disbarred over foolish crimes
you incite with a grisly smile.

The day looks too disheveled
to risk accidents and incidents
we’d both regret, so I steer him

to an outdoor café and ply him
with strawberry liqueur until pores
open, blackheads pop, and he talks

that talk that topples unwary souls.
He believes that pine cones evolve
into people like you, masses

of tough carbohydrate and gristle.
He believes that nose-flutes simper
reckless melodies when you pose

on an elbow after fatal acts.
I offer him half my bagel
and he scarfs it down so greedily

he must have lost the will to perish
in a slather of harsh detergent.
You shouldn’t pick on men like this,

born tender as chicken pot pies.
You should choose from the thunder
of pagan heroes, the grumble

of satyrs fresh on the gallop.
You should bury your victims with full
military honors rather

than allow them to roam freely
with their spent organs dangling—
their long and bloodless afternoons

inscribed on the faces of clocks
that tick with grim persistence
in low tones no one need hear.

 

 

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in various journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.

 

Painting, Wotan und Brünnhilde, by Koloman Moser.

Drip Drip Drip by William Doreski

This morning the plumbing sighs
that impatient sigh that suggests
how the world’s water supply
has tired of servicing humans.
The hot water faucet dripping
in the bathtub angers you
with a waste of the resources
on which our retirement relies.

I’m too gnarled to turn a wrench
the way a wrench wants to turn.
Too rusty to handle small parts
like plastic washers and O-rings.
Too intemperate to sweat-solder
the copper piping we reclaimed
from the landfill. Blue jays creak
in the yard. Their harsh noises
sound far more fatal than plumbing,
but they aren’t serious enough
to follow up on their threats.

You’re tired of smutting curses
over every naked surface
and taking the shine off objects
that were new in our lifetimes.
You dislike the washer, dryer,
refrigerator, toaster, and range
but have tired of saying so.
Only the microwave oven
escapes your sultry expression.

But you hone your most poignant
silence to scrape the plumbing clean
of the foulest words. Maybe thus
unburdened, the faucet will heal
and we’ll save the plumber’s fee.
Then the water of the world,
pumped from our modest well,
will restrain itself from unholy
baptisms of the psychic void.

 

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).

Editor’s Note: Click on this poet’s name in the rectangle at the bottom of this post to see more of his Califragle work!

The Last Blue Pigeon by William Doreski

The last blue pigeon has died,
leaving a hole in the sky.
Once the air darkened with bruise,
stifled by wingbeat. Now the cries

of filthy children suffocate
the distance from here to the sea.
You want to pose on the shore
with blue pigeons circling above—

their song a solo high note
that carries a friendly threat.
You want to rake the guano
from rocks above the tideline

and sell it to perfumeries
advertising in Vogue and Elle.
Blue pigeons were big business
in our childhood when the rivers

stank of acid and dyes from mills
churning out cottons and woolens
we wore to school, church and dinner
with our parents’ creepy friends.

The last specimen died of lust
naked air couldn’t fulfill.
It fell from the sky like a bomb
and exploded in depths of science

the intellect hadn’t yet plumbed.
The hole in the sky looks large enough
to stick our heads through to see
daylight stars brimming with pride.

Maybe if you stood on my shoulders
you could reach that hole and look
into both the past and future
where the latest colors evolve.

 

 

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).

Editor’s Note: Watch for more of William’s work this week!

The Usual Conspiracy Theory by William Doreski

Diesel rigs snoring uphill
four miles off sound near enough
to run us over. Crickets sawing
leg to leg play alto chorus

to the trucks’ basso profundo.
Summer always ends like this—
slabs of music simmering.
You’re reading another book

on Robert Kennedy, while tenth
or twelfth time I’m attempting
to finish The Maximus Poems.
Something teary in the distance,

maybe a scrap of tropical storm.
Something opens into a dark
we know we’ll never satisfy.
You touch the lowest level of sky

to determine if the paint has dried.
Afraid of all that depth I place
one hand on the worm-warm soil
of my favorite garden plot.

We look awkward enough to laugh,
but the crickets douse our humor
and the roar of the trucks seems
closer, personal enough

to absorb our favorite sins.
I’d better return to reading
about the history of Cape Ann,
the agony of facing the sea

every day, the depth compelling,
almost as cruel as the bullet
Bobby Kennedy’s assassin
lodged in our collective brain.

 

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).

Editor’s Note: Watch for more of William’s work this week!