I now present to you…more brunch poems.

this year, I’ll call them

The Someday Brunch Sonnets

(poems of 14 lines

occurring some days

& written in New York

during the last days of 2011

& the first days of 2012)

 

Brunch Sonnet 1

 

On the Hudson line, the Hudson’s misty white

and Harlem’s moistened bricks are held in color

by the rain. Years ago, I watched an airplane puff

a message to a lover from a lover but missed the name

when the train went underground. Usually I’m anxious

for the dark of tunnel, a sign that city life is close, all

the art and outfits waiting. This year it’s Christmas

and de Kooning, who painted roads and months on canvases

the size of my apartment.  I won’t tell you that I saw

the Merritt in his painting called the Merritt Parkway,

but the expression of the tiny patch of olive green

that beamed itself in angles from a corner was enough

to tell me that he lived here once and thought himself

a minor sight in comparison to all the trees.

 

 

poem inspired by the photograph (mine).

girl you have way too many

jackets & too many of those

 

girly bows as headgear but rest

assured i’ll hold a broken down

 

umbrella over us as our hairs

grow big & frazzled and the spittle

 

of the rain delivered on the wind

strums our faces like a set of bitten

 

teenage fingernails touching

grandpa’s heirloom fiddle

I want to go SO BADLY (exhibit).

“Painters and Poets” at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

From the website:

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery marks its 60th anniversary with “Tibor de Nagy Gallery Painters and Poets,” an exhibition celebrating the gallery’s pivotal role in launching the New York School of Poets and fostering a new collaborative ethos among poets and painters in post-War New York. The exhibit focuses on the gallery’s first two decades, the 1950s and ‘60s, when its vibrant, salon-like atmosphere and director John Bernard Myers’ passion for both art and poetry gave birth to these unique partnerships.

All I can do is go to the gallery’s website and click through the tiny pictures and hope that suffices (it must suffice). A few I love, even in their tiny, virtual forms:

That’s Frank O’Hara, at the Museum of Modern Art. And here’s Larry Rivers’ portrait of John Ashberry:

The Last Brunch Poem, Day 20 (mine).

Goodbye grandma and grandpa and suckers
in ceramic bowls in their just-cold house where

I came into some Steinbeck and heard word about
the “two-cent plain,” a small glass of seltzer

at the fountain and a single smoke for a penny
less. Goodbye New York, goodbye high school

(though I should’ve said it years ago); goodbye
thick scarves that warm my chin, goodbye smallperson

chance at the lottery win. In an apartment floor
on Warburten we sang “The Weight,” planned the three

-part chorus note and in our rendition humor didn’t pull
us out, half our faces painted and the other half about

to be. The photographs I seized these weeks are grainy
and behind the gloss the noise is coiled. Sam didn’t

snore. Andrew’s voice across the phone was hushed
and pious for the past. He drove. Goodbye pink

backdropped cheetah where we’ll pose until we’re all
too fat for year-end dresses. Goodbye Euclid and Villard

where I didn’t exercise but hoped to hold a face or two.
Goodbye avocadoes posed in pitied winter pyramids

and goodbye to mothers in the store and on the street,
catty-cornered on a mat or in the heated trainstop.

And here’s the last full stop after a half day’s research
into telegrams: I came, I saw, I ate late meals. I ran.

Brunch Poem Day 19 (mine).

I’m behind the deli counter, surveying
you through the pickle jar. With water,

with vinegar, with redblack peppercorns
seasoning the mixture in which you swim,

you solicit eight ounces of tuna. Five
is all I have to offer. True there’s some

in the back, true too I loathe to keep
flesh from you but my own numbered

bones aren’t much wider than those I slice
and though you’ve spun worthy tales of life

on rainless land, my archival mitts are off
today, my fish gloves on. To think in terms

of weight is unbecoming though I love
the paper used to wrap, the thick white

tape to match. You clutch the ounces
that I pass across a counter much too tall

for us. Your teeth aligned along
an orthography of thanks, you pay

from dollars tightly clipped together,
close as thieves but not as thick.

We finish the day in the presence of the same
red flesh, culled from the same cut form.

I sear mine and share it, the center a sailor’s
delight. Your ounces perch upon a shelf,

forgotten and not quite what you had in mind.
The tuna’s redness ages, and maroons.

Brunch Poem Day 18 (mine).

New York Egg Cream

It doesn’t have eggs and it doesn’t
have cream. Once it was made
with siphon-poured seltzer—
that’s seltzer from a bottle
with a cold silver lever but today

club soda from the store will
surely suffice, though if you’ve
a neighbor with a siphon, rewind
& use hers. This drink was designed
by Jews of the Lower East Side

when they came and survived
with less space than an egg is allowed
in its carton. According to legend Fox’s
U-Bet is the wise syrup choice to account
for the chocolate. Have you ever enjoyed

one, this thickdrink with milk, perhaps
at night  with a friend or your father
in town? Have you sat at a diner and sipped
through a straw, striped  and too tall
for the glass? You may be in New York;

you may be way out west or in the midst
of a bend caused by  a film whose finish
is less than  an end. Your friend at your side
will surely misjudge what you request
from the waiter. An egg cream? But

it doesn’t have eggs and there’s no
trace of cream. Your companion is told
this but continues to dream of being stuck
in your carton: thin shell touched
with chocolate, thin shell of sweet milk.

Brunch Poem Day 17 (mine).

New studies show that members of the upper class are less adept at reading emotions. Toxicity of character as a result of economics: now proven by science. Or: now implied by science (we all have our own mathematics)–

Empathy: sympathy: symphonies
of facial cues: queues for those
unadjusted and none for the rich
(the car is waiting): the blues
of those in highbacked chairs:
booze for everyone on the floor:
apple cores everywhere and not
a word about cyanide: bruised
feelings and hides: the smallest
version of meat on a platter
with the tiniest of buns: lump
sums, queenless hives: we have only
one set of knives & you may employ
each iteration: if  sugar is needed, you
must perceive if your neighbor is willing
to offer it: proffered books are a sign
of a healthy economy: a conversation
picks up at the first sign of anomaly: so
you want to be a poet: so where will you
put it: so how will you live: sew me
a sign with your vocation intact:
coded language is an invention
of those who need codes: my living
is small but still called an abode: please
come in: please come inside: please come
inside with your face  all in pieces:
there’s no need to sign  any leases or
pacts: please cry with your face if you
need or your neck: heck, lie on the bed:
your head on my shoulder,
your head with my head.

Brunch Poem Day 16 (mine).

I arrive at Chase’s at 6:34pm and
straightaway we hang a photograph

on the wall (I have these skills I am
Woman) and then atop the redblue

plaid of the comforter that could only
be his we talk about prospects of office

chairs and a ten-year-old love interest
and a book title in all capitals. When I go

to the bathroom the walls the tub the tiny
toilet remind me of other Brooklyns I’ve

known and I want to ask Chase to pose
in the bathtub for me with a prop like

a Frisbee or an empty foam cup but
we have to go to dinner and that means

three layers for the arms and the boots
we’ve got. I don’t even buy sliced bread

anymore. I make tacos. The intonation
of this Timothy-middled man is so dear

to my heart & throat I’ll imitate it twice
at dinner and then again to myself

in Grand Central two hours later when
my socks have taken up residency at my

toes and it’s not the jokes about college
tours but the strict  announcements of delayed

arrivals that bribe my mind awake.