Sunday, January 17, 2010

These are Not the Times to Come to Poetry

This is the face of Patrick Rosal:

Nice face, huh?

This is the work of Patrick Rosal:

The Woman You Love Cuts Apples for You
Patrick Rosal
and stirs them in sea salt and vinegar
She takes a drag from her Silk Cut

eases again through the fruit's flesh
the blade stopping short of her thumb

You are both sweating at the shoulder
(East Ham's hottest summer) And you realize

these are not the times to come to poetry
You have everything you need

and your father's bone-hard stare
can't reach across the Atlantic

so you save yourself for another day
because there is this woman slicing apples

stirring them in vinegar reminding you
of an afternoon twenty-five years ago when

you knelt with your brothers at your mother's
feet to pluck apple slices from a small basin

pinched between her legs And one of you
would lift that bowl—almost completely empty

except for a sour clouded liquid
and a few seeds shifting at the bottom

You'd just taste at first but soon you're handing it
from brother to brother gulping lung-fulls

of that tart cider You'd sweat sniffle gasp chug
'til your lips turned white and numb

And before you went out into those Jersey streets
you'd rinse your chin You'd soap your hands

because the girls would hold their breath
for every reason and stink on your fingers and neck

You won't dare tell anyone you've learned
to love the taste of something so strange until this

woman cuts apples for you in vinegar
and the familiar fumes fill your nostrils and gullet

She will lift the bowl to drink She'll twist her face
and laugh when she offers it and you will drink

and she will drink and you will drink again
She will kiss your cut knuckle She'll kiss your eyes

Of course the vinegar stings
It's the hottest summer ever in London

And you and the woman you love fall asleep side by side
like this—reeking and unwashed—breathing in

each other's dreams of open skin
Thank you, dear reader, for the suggestion of this amazing poet. Did you have any particular favorites by him?

1 comment:

Conner7and8 said...

I'm so glad you checked him out and shared his poetry with all the people visiting your site! I fell in love while reading Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive. For the life of me I cannot find my copy anywhere to give you a title. I want to say there was a poem "1979." (This may not be correct. I'm working off a memory from 5 or so years ago.) If you like him you might like Aimee Nezhukumatathil. You may my day with Patrick! Thanks!