Thursday, August 11, 2011


Awkwardly I shove my head up through
stiff fabric, embroidered
with ragged stitchery. What to do
with all this? It settles on my shoulders,
and I start to sweat: little beetle feet tick
above my ears; step knickingly
across the hairline behind.

One must I suppose dress for occasions.
But poetry is the worst cocktail dress
I have found yet. “This little thing?”
I worked on it for years in secret,
and it looks dreadful on me.

Start again.

No. Maybe
some other kind of writer, some other place.
Something more in the Hemingway line?
Unflinching? Unfortunately
Flinching is what I do and how I do it.
If I have a gift, it's flinchery.

Still the corners of my mouth
begin to move; the laughter starts;
the eyes open wider and the light
begins to wash across my lap.
This is what they came for.
They want something else,
they can ask.


rbarenblat said...

I love the sounds and the mouth-feel of "little beetle feet tick / above my ears, step knickingly / across the hairline behind." And the word "flinchery." And the way this poem ends with laughter and light.

Dale said...

I wrote this and the poem above it at a "write in." Still in the overexposure phase of the experience: it doesn't take much for me! But it's fun and the people are lovely.

alembic said...

It makes lovely music, this flicnhery.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Flinchery! Sounds like a course in bird watching! I always have a sort of love/hate relationship with all my poems. "Does this dress make me look fat?--But, I love the color!" sort of thing. My little cocktail dresses always seem too small or too large...but I always love the fabric, or the color, or the cut. Conversely, when they fit, I hate the color, etc.

You, on the other hand, ALWAYS look stunning!

Dale said...

Well thank you, Joyce. You too :-)