Poetry: Duane Vorhees

Duane Vorhees

- Duane Vorhees



MALINOWSKY

Carpenters, of course, don’t confuse gods with rat sills and cripples,
and chemists know their carbohydrates and their hydrocarbons with no  concern with the human condition.
And some artists can easily keep their paint and pain separate.
That vague overlap (between certainty and mystery) is seldom the purview of persons of craft or science.
And some poets, too, feel no need to act as cosmic X-ray techs.
But only as my pen’s prisoner can I be free,
rich only in the poverty of my own poem-making.
But my words run dry before the poem is done,
and I need to plumb and square again.
***


PAINTBOX, BABY

[I]
“I’m your paint box, Baby. Let me soft-coat you. Oh, your paint box, Baby, want to soft-coat you. Let me touch you up. Baby, look squeaky new. Pick from my palette color silver. Choose from my palette color silver. Float down my barge on your undimmed river.”
Silver is the sound midnight makes. And money, as it slides from one’s pocket to another’s. Thunder-rhythmed electric graffiti. Silver—the scars across the nighttime sky.
“Pick from my palette, pick color green. Pick from my palette, yes, color green. Let’s light up your fire, let’s make it steam.”
Green like chameleons—that was Jackie Parrot. As green as green could be. In his mind, is was mixed with ought; wouldn’t meant won’t. Jackie thought want equaled for sure. His motto was: Innocence is goodness’ poof. And: Nothing unpleasant survives inattention.
Jackie had a lot to learn.

[II]
“Choose from my palette, choose color orange. Pick from my palette, pick color orange. Add a droppa oil, open your door hinge.”
Orange-penny sun, silver dime at night. We day by day spend our change. Copper days, dimes at night, time rolls between our fingers and slides from our sight.
“I’m your paint box, Baby, let me soft-coat you. Oh, yes, paint box, Honey, wanna soft-coat you. Let me touch up my baby, make squeaky new. Pick from my palette, pick color black. Choose from my palette, choose color black. Be my Queen of Spades, thirsty for my jack.”
Black-haired Nicolete, Jack’s true love was. Since Jackie Nicolete never kissed, and Jackie Nicolete never hugged, for Jackie proof this was – evidence – of Nicolete’s  lack of all contaminants. Oh, pure she was! A black silk negligee. As honest as night could be, if unadulterated by stars. That’s what Jackie thought.
“Pick from my palette, pick color blue. Pick from my palette, pick color blue. Do invite my bee to taste your honeydew.”
Blue were the eyes of Gary Beaucaire, blueprints that mapped, that trapped, the soul true of Nicolete. But Gary was as poor as Gary’s eyes were blue. And his eyes and his poverty were in harness together; together caused black Nicolete to lure young Parrot late at night to steal (she’d say) with her away. But all a ruse it was, of course, just a plot, a plan: a conspiracy to separate Jack from his naïve, unsuspecting silver.
Green like chameleons—that was Jackie Parrot. As green as green could be. In his mind, is was mixed with ought; wouldn’t meant won’t. Jackie thought want equaled for sure. His motto was: Innocence is goodness’ poof. And: Nothing unpleasant survives inattention.
Jackie had a lot to learn.

[III]
“Pick from my palette color yellow. Pick from my palette color yellow. Just slide my stiff bow ‘long that tight cello.”
Yellow was Jackie’s gold. And silver and orange, his change. The treasure Nicolete sought to steal for her and blue Beaucaire. The rendezvous was set, Jackie to meet Nicolete in the woods that night, despite the thunderstorm. Gary to jump from the trees and knock Jackie out (or down, at least) and take from Jackie the works of his pocket and the riches of his heart.
“Pick from my paint box, pick color red. Choose from my paint box, choose color red. Shine like a needle hungry for some thread.”
Red did flow that stormy night while the thunder rolled and the silver lightning flashed. But t’was the red blood of young Beaucaire, whose blue eyes were beaten the color of Nicol’s hair. Even so, Nicolete Gary’s true love was, and all her orange-penny noons and all her silver-dime nights rolled through Beaucaire’s hands forever.
So Jackie fought and so Jackie kept his cash. And Jackie fought and lost his love. And, brown like chameleons, did old Jackie grow. And it’s the new, mournful Parrot who sings.
“I’m your paint box, Baby, let me soft-coat you. I’m your paint box, Sugar, wanna soft-coat you. Want to touch you up ‘til you’re so squeaky new.”
Green like chameleons—that was Jackie Parrot once. As green as green could be. In his mind, is once was mixed with ought; wouldn’t meant won’t. Once Jackie thought want equaled for sure. His motto was: Innocence is goodness’ poof. And: Nothing unpleasant survives inattention.
Jackie learned a lot.

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।