Game #2: Brett Price's apartment Brighton,
WINNER: Cindy King
Of the minutest cricket
there was a joke.
Pretend that you don’t agree with me
this morning with a blue flame burning.
Nests with their birds, houses with their keys.
2. Robert Creeley from “The Joke”
3. Stan Rice from “Psalm 178”
4. John Wieners from “A Poem for Trapped Things”
5. Paul Eluard from “To Live Here”
title by Brett Price
The trees facing wind, wind-waves towing nothing: leaves flagging, nothing to sign—
This morning. Its blue flame burning clouds.
Hotness overrunning horses overrun by dust, by—
Roofs remark their hooves overlain with hooves.
Despite the flame blue and shingles, the sand
notices the Milky Way the origami the doves, the oysters
sense the racks they boil on. Red, orange, yellow:
temperatures like onion inside
onion. Thunder slices too close to a car.
Pretend you don’t agree with the one quiet dust.
Pretend you didn’t see that blue crack burning.
Nests full of cower, mansions full of feed.
I didn’t want to touch the five lines – still don’t. They seem to come from some logic that essentially clings to the ether. I wasn’t even present to win. Ruth Wartman was guarding my bingo card for me: I was taking an important call down in the very tidy bedroom of someone I don’t know. This adds to the feeling the five lines are like a rock that fell from the sky. Then I wrote a first draft. It was all Latinate collaged with refrains akin to the ones in Rukeyser’s “Orange and Grape”. It ended with a statement followed by, “This is the joke.” But then, that poem looked too vertical, cut like an intractable and mincing landscape poem from 1989. Rumpus in a stale way. So, I started over. I stared out the window for a long time. I thought about big things, the cricket who’d been in my mind for a long time by then, how comfort and scale can blind anyone to a helpless quiet thing like a cricket (or a conscience).
Cindy King is currently recovering from an injury sustained while pitching fastballs on a Sony Wii. Her poems are forthcoming in RealPoetik and Copper Nickel.