A Disposition – poem

(On surprising a neighbor lady at play.)

Do they matter anymore
the inclinations of age?

If she stoops
with a groan and
grit at the knees

predisposed to
care, bowed
in sorrow, but

what daring
here in bending
plucks
a dandelion

ratchets upright
to puff
that tuft onto

the breeze
the air about her
snow-globed

resolved in a
weathered smile
if you squint

so much like
that one in the
faded Polaroid?

100th Breonna Taylor Poem Tweeted

Have been tweeting two poems a day, all in the style of Sappho, and posted the last one in the collection just now at https://twitter.com/tony_gentry. Here are a couple I really like from the final 10:

98.

So, officer:

Just think
when corona came

that woman you killed
the one who worked in the ED?

Had she lived
she mighta

saved your grandma.

99.

I have no complaint.

I worked fifteen-hour shifts
to save people:

Dead, I won’t
be forgotten.

3 Possums in the Woods

Came upon a trio of opossums (why that first o, I’ll never know) digging in the compost pile behind the house yesterday and by the time I got back indoors was rhyming this ditty to myself.

One played dead
one got mad
and the other climbed a tree.

Made me wonder
which of them I’d be?

Would I faint
or would I snarl
or would I try to flee?

Soon enough
the time will come
and then I guess we’ll see.

By the way, here are two of them, the guy on the left played dead, partner bared his teeth, and out of frame, the other (with hilarious slowness) climbed that tree.

Breonna Taylor Poems

By the end of the week, will have posted all 100 Sappho-inspired poems in honor of Ms. Taylor on Twitter. Posting here an especially topical one, with the Chauvin murder trial entering its second week. (To read them all, go to @tony_gentry on Twitter and scroll.)

93.

Yes Breonna, you may be sure
Across the globe the people
Will spread your name.

Tell the life we shared here,
Make of you a goddess incarnate,
The best among us.

Now among newscasters
Floyd in his turn claims the headlines
As the red-fingered moon
Rising at sunset takes
Precedence over the sky’s stars;

Yet your light spreads equally
On the salt sea and fields thick with bloom
Wherever dew pours down to freshen
Roses, bluegrass, and blossoming
Sweet clover.

Your smile encircles the globe
Your gentle face, so our hearts
Hang heavy with mourning.

We shout aloud, SAY HER NAME!
We know it; thousand-eared night marchers
Repeat our cry across the seas
Shining between us.

BREONNA: Poems after Sappho

Long backstory here, but amidst the Black Lives Matter protests I found myself fascinated (aghast) at the Breonna Taylor saga and for reasons that remain mysterious to me set about matching her story to a translation of the ancient Greek poet Sappho’s poetry. There are 100 poems and poetic fragments in the translation I followed (a 1958 book with translations by Mary Barnard). Unfortunately, the University of California Press, which owns the rights to this translation, does not approve of any adaptation or reuse of the poems, so my hope of publishing the book seems doomed. Instead, I’m going to throw them up one mashup at a time on Twitter, scattering them to the interweb winds, so to speak. If you’re a Twitter follower (heaven help you), hope you’ll check them out at my Twitter account: @tony_gentry.

As a taste of what I’ve been about, and in hopes of not stirring the wrath of the U of C lawyers, here are a couple of the 100 poems I’ll be putting up on Twitter:

82.

We drink your health
Mr. AG!

Now the grand jury we asked for
Is over.
And your ruling is the ruling
They told you to make.

It’s a lie made up
Of some lawyer words
Slick as snot
On a door knob.

See my sign?  See her face,
That Love had lit
With its own beauty?

Her face on the wall
In Paris, London, Nairobi
And this all you got
For us?

83.

To my editor, in DC:

Some say the National Guard
troops, or the armored cars,
Or even the Proud Boys
In their Hawaiian shirts
And bike helmets are the
Finest sights at the rallies.

But I say that whoever
Marches for love, is.

This is easily proved: 

Do not the marchers,
Volunteers, risking their health,
Some their lives,
For justice not move you
More than all that
Mercenary artillery?

Just posted Poem Number 1 on Twitter, only 99 to go!

January by the Numbers

Last April – seems so long ago now – I posted this rant: https://tonygentry.com/2020/04/24/april-by-the-numbers-a-rant/. Revisiting the numbers game today, when the shock of that horrifying month has long been overcome by the count of those that followed.

On Day 1 New Year’s Day the total:
83.9 million Corona cases/350,000 dead.
Imagine Miami, everyone dead.
Or St. Louis, all dead.
That day, as most days, the US No. 1,
166,113 testing positive, 3,462 dead, and again on this day
as on 307 other days of his term
nearly 1 year of his 4
the President plays 18-holes.

Other numbers:
The golfing President begs 1 state
for 11,780 make-believe votes
2 Democrats win there
on the same day 1000s
sack the Capitol, hunting heads
Q’s and 3-percenters and so-called Proud Boys
5 die.

In 2021‘s 1st month
140,000 more Americans lose their jobs.
Food lines, testing lines, and now lines for
2 vaccines with 95% effectiveness.
But also 3, no 4, new Covid-19 strains.
You need 2 shots spaced 3 weeks apart
if you can find 1.

Then wait 2 weeks, or 3,
but maybe then you can still
be a spreader.
And will they kill the new strains?
Here’s a 1-shot vaccine, too.
What does 65% effective even mean?

73 last minute pardons of cronies and crooks.
The golfing President impeached a 2nd time.
10 months along, somehow still not enough N95’s.
ICUs at 110% capacity.

You’re better off with 2 masks
they tell us now.

On the 31st, a Sunday,
24.4 million Americans have been vaccinated
(just 305 million to go!)
as we continue our run at No. 1:
133,746 new cases, 2641 dead
in 1 day of the worst month yet.

The new old President, just 10 days in,
goes to church and prays,
no doubt, for 3 things:
Unity, mercy, and resolve.

Amen.