You are golden, tavern like a womb,
insides spilled apart with lowlight from the
lamps hanging in a scattered flock from the ceiling. You are
backlight and music spilling forth like froth, like foam
over the top of the wall and through the doorways that
lead from bar to dining room. The music and voices
are all around us. Not even that wall can contain the
Friday night joy from the blue-jeaned beer revelers
on the other side.
Crossbeams over our heads brace up
a bracket of drywall and Spackle, tinged amber
and earth – beams brown-shouldered, broad, and
Bavarian. They look German in an
Italian country, you who lines your insides with
old vintage wine ads and the Mona Lisa
in every room. Should I tell you that I birthed a
poem here? Her eyes fed me the words – deep within them
I saw DaVinci, drenched in lip-lock with an impudent young man
ruled by a tumble of aurelian curls atop his head and
the cock strength of youth contained behind a thin wall
of tights. He stole everything, including the ticking time clock
inside the old artisan’s chest.
Beyond you, there is a man-made mirror of water
with a thick green jelly of life that sits in its stomach. Even so, it can
still repeat the sky above it in almost perfect form. The last time
I birthed a poem there, the sun glared in spotlight on
that day’s heavyweight bout – two red-winged blackbirds
fighting and fumbling for food. Ali won the battle, sending
Foreman to the nearest tree branch with his
stone eyes straight ahead. Beyond the smoky ends of that
burnt-out fight, there was a blank canvas of blue sky and silence
punctuated by pinholes of birdsong, and a
a clearing inside a thick tribe of trees with
green crowns tangled together – another womb open
and waiting for me to enter.
When I am inside you, I am anointed by
golden glass chimes that poured forth from
the crowds of clocks upon the north wall, golden glass chimes
that made melodies in their feet and danced together like
a thousand gentle and jubilant toasts to life. I am anointed
by the cinnamon glow from the copper kettles,
resting and roosting beyond all our revelry, upon
wooden shelves painted in dull chocolate to match
the Bavarian crossbeams. At the lake, I am
called to commission by the incense of wet grass and earth
crunched underfoot, the after-rain funk that
smolders under the burn of high noon daylight. In its
mirror, I saw Middletown, with Dick’s Creek running through it
like a polluted vein – that child rests somewhere,
a collection of curled black letters nestled inside
an electronic page.
You should know that birthing is sacred work.
Ginsberg’s axiom has blessed you both
as cathedrals: everything is holy! I cannot
separate the sacrosanct from the profane, so I
take off my sandals wherever the words come. Both of you
have seen the joy of children leap forth. I have been
a mother in many places.
Written 5/21/10 and 5/25/10
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
Quotes in italics: #1 comes from “Awake/Ghost Song” by Jim Morrison; #2 comes from “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.
This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #3: Where Have You Been Recently? Joseph Harker invited us to pick two places where we have recently spent time, choose five things about both places, and then write a poem. I picked a local Italian restaurant and tavern called Villanova and the man-made small lake which is near the back of the property where I work. Both places have things in common — they are two of the places where I have gotten inspiration for and even portions of poems. I also had a little bit of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, The Mother”, in my mind as I wrote this. I hope you enjoyed this poem.