Tina Rowley

writer + (performer) + [space left open for surprises]

lost at sea

Dave just got this unbelievable fat poetry anthology called Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century. It's all poets born after 1960 who have published three or fewer books. Hot! Hot hot!

Here's a poem that's apropos for us these days, by Patty Seyburn:

First Bookshelf

There is a duck lost at sea when
his crate breaks after the boat is
destroyed. Tossed, overturned,
claimed and buoyed by a frigid
ocean, he observes the moon and
stars, knows loneliness, isolation
and lack of purpose. He wonders
if he'll find a home. There is a
monkey who makes countless,
thoughtless errors and manages
to redeem himself with friendly,
anonymous counsel. He makes
great messes and never seems
to gain an awareness of what
others endure on his behalf. He
is not held accountable for his
mistakes. A royal elephant has
appropriate adventures and an
extended family. A huge dog
with morals means well but his
size often inhibits his ability to
reach his goals. He frequently
learns to compensate for his errs
by giving rides, providing shelter,
protecting the meek. There is a
mouse with balletic grace, while
her tiny cousin has nothing but luck
and the charm of the weak: you
can't choose your family. There is
another mouse, crudely drawn in
primary colors, whose exploits are,
at best, prosaic. She keeps company
with an elephant, an alligator, and
a female of ambiguous species.
She drives a bus, cleans house,
bakes gingerbread, takes a bath,
attends the fair. She is middle class.
And yet another mouse, with many
paid friends and a girlfriend, sister
or cousin, also paid. They used to
keep silent but have, of late, learned
language, which has increased their
popularity but drained the pathos
from their exploits. A company of
pigs, an obdurate spider, a ravenous
caterpillar that endures change and
sheep: lost, defiant, naked. The duck
story is somewhat true except that
we are given the duck's perspective,
which must be questioned, as we have
no small stake in believing that we
are the only ones who understand
that we exist, with little notion of why.

Finn sometimes will cry out briefly in his sleep, and I wonder if he's having a bad dream. I hate the idea. He's too little for a bad dream. And what would his bad dream be? Does it have to do with daily, earthly baby concerns? Does he dream he's stuck in a terry cloth sleeper soaked in baby cheese? Does he dream that he's thirsty for milk and facing a frustrating empty breast? Or does he have dreams of some complicated, more adult-feeling before-life? Does he miss where he came from? Does he have friends he left behind, wherever he was? Does he dream of being large and articulate and powerful, or does he dream about some former articulate glory? The little cry is so brief, but so pained. It rips pieces off of my heart and eats them.