Lesle Lewis Poetry

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Sample Poems

BEHIND THE CURTAIN


She goes to Italy, to Teaneck, to Afghanistan, and Walpole and then her hands over her head and then she takes her feet off the ground.

It is someone else's life she thinks.

She flies past John Blair's and hears such wailing noises she's afraid they are killing pigs today.

She thinks elsewhere. Here's one degree of warmth.

Here a cat sleeps on a dog bed, a mistranslation.

Here is modern androgyny and emotional flatness clanging.

Is there anywhere around here to go? The question is like a snowball on top of the Buddha's head.

Here is a spring garden, all green and birdy with one hundred learned canary birds.

A girl and her peacock travel through dangerous mountains.

A young man greets a new life aboard the banana boat.

A baby lives with a mouse family.

We are all headless and cannot speak.

She cannot believe there isn't even one brave and necessary thing more, just a sledding night behind the curtain of a cafe.

(from Small Boat)


 

SHOOTING THE BEAR


Like the novel in verse, the novel in verse, dogs in this town drive cars.

Houses expose themselves slowly.

It's flammable linseed oil to which the cabinetmaker who made our feeders after losing his fingers loses his shop.

We must think of the little nun's happiness.

If we shoot the bear, it won't bother the feeders.

The birds love our willow trees, and love is the word.

(from Landscapes I & II)


 

I'LL LAUGH WHEN I'M READY


I'm sorry to keep leaving myself out, to forget to call your love over the mountains into a fog.

I'm moving onto, and maturing into, confessing the first person who eats an orange and the orange is not real the way you know real.

This leaves me alone again still not ready to laugh.

I'm floating with the rest of the pronouns, and first we come to turkeys and then cows and then their bones.

It's one walk or another through the fields, through the towns, past the mill where it is raining.

It's roofless; it's a puzzle.

Lately I've been tortured by these abstractions when really they are only doors with knobs on the wrong side.

I can't even break a single line without so much anxiety that I can't do it.

We sit outside at the tavern and eat and drink.

It is a tiny complicated mess relieved by its name: worm.

We drive home with an unhappy headache in the back seat.

By ten o'clock, our glasses and our shoes and our sweaters have wandered off towards their own self-realizations.

The terrific complexity of the moment is good enough.

We fall asleep just as the animal wars begin.

(from lie down too)