This evening I'd like to post some intriguing, slice-of-life poems that New Mexico poet Tim Staley sent me. (Thank you for your patience, Tim!) He and I were both in Catfish McDaris and Marc Pietrzykowski's anthology Resurrection of a Sunflower, poems and prose inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.
It Was the Day of My Vasectomy
A nurse prepped me like I was livestock.
I was 2 Xanax in and she was too rough.
She left my nuts under a heat lamp.
The doctor finally came in and told me
if I stopped having babies the Blacks
and the Mexicans and the Muslims
would sure enough fill this country up.
A strange sentiment for a sterilization.
Then I’m thinking about the young van Gogh,
a bit shiftless, unable to find his place
in business or in the exams of the church
so he goes down to the mine to see sunlight
through the miner’s eyes, shrunk to a pinhead,
and the Xanax is wearing off
and I smell him cauterizing my vas deferens.
THE FALLEN SOLDIER
The fallen soldier lands
at Cleveland International.
4 green fire trucks,
10 cop cars, a hearse,
and a blur of red, white and blue
glitters on the wet tarmac.
A son, a father, a brother
and 6 flags stand limp.
Some of us stop to gape
for 2 or 3 minutes before
dashing to our gates.
Another Meaningless Morning
Sylvia kneels on the sofa, her back to the living room,
she’s looking out the window, she sees a fluffy bird.
The light is broken by the blinds and lays across her face
in thick, bright bars. There's dust floating in the air
and the sound of Thursday’s snoring in her dog bed
even though she just woke from 18 hours of sleep.
In the bedroom Suzanne is also asleep, on her left side,
spit hangs from the rim of her lip. The ceiling fans
continue to spin counter-clockwise. The window in the bedroom
is open, a cool front blew in last night. In the window sill,
stuck between the screen and the glass is the skeleton of a gecko,
maybe 3 inches, striped tail, eyes beady and black, wide open
and intact. Outside a breeze starts in Deming and turns bad
on its way to the Mesilla Valley. Bits of dust and rock vibrate
and lift from the desert floor to make their way in a violent cloud
toward our house, toward the fluffy, unidentified bird in our front yard
hopping between the palo verde and the juvenile locust tree
and in Sylvia’s stomach there’s a barking and a Happy Meal
watch is on her little wrist but it’s broken and is only purple to match
her skirt which has 28 sparkly hearts sewn above the bottom hem,
and between her two front teeth there’s a morsel of mango
that her toothbrush must have missed, and she turns to face her daddy,
to ask him about that fluffy bird, as he makes his way to the coffee maker.
Ring Them Bells
Elonganel got his bell rung
and saw green for an hour.
Coach said our sideline
looked like Mash last night.
Now I sit around drinking coffee
as the non-disabled students amble in
while half the football team
wanders the hallways,
sliding recklessly back and forth
over the black ice of their synapses.
Angela, She’s Gone
I can blink the tiredness from my eyes
but she’s gone. My sister, mother of two.
My daughter's first real death
is 3 hours old, 4 hours old...
Jill’s mom didn’t let her
go to her father’s funeral.
It was a motorcycle crash
after the war, Germany, hit by a truck.
The mother knew funerals
were no place for a child.
It’s past my daughter’s bedtime.
Go on, I tell her, play,
don’t worry about the stars
shifting on and on.
If you would like to see more of Tim Staley and his poetry, visit his website: https://poetstaley.com/ He may even be coming to a town near you!
Let's start the music with Thelonious Monk's "Boo-Boo's Birthday," Boo-Boo being his nickname for his daughter Barbara: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDHAo7xmIac
I'm trying to find the Robert Glasper song with his child, but in the meantime, here is "Ah Yeah" featuring Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN0tFgLcp4g
"Fever" is a bonus track on the Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuvF2DfQM3k
I'll finish with Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgjTnRcxOJA and "Katrina Ballerina": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQkGc7dfIPE