Monday, April 13, 2009

“Here Comes Peter Cottontail”

Ah, it’s Easter Monday, & in honor of the season I’m posting a (more or less) seasonal poem I wrote in the spring of either 1992 or 1993 while I was living in downtown San Francisco (& going to Golden Gate Park on Sundays!). For what it’s worth, I think this a poem that really pointed the way toward the poems I was going to write in my last few years in Baghdad by the Bay; it was a definite departure from the more controlled & formal poems of my Charlottesville days.

Hope you enjoy it.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Things are coming to life as if
things had much choice: the masking tape, the
scissors, mothballs, rootbeer-flavored lollipops
sucked clean to the cardboard fingerbone
baby carriages like umbrellas on wheels, I'm in one now
smoking a macanudo, it tastes like Papa's socks on April
8 1965— these inanimate objects
had their own ambitions in life: the whiskbroom, the peppermint
candy wrappers crackling something electric gone on the fritz
the briarwood pipe
                                                     now we're in business
c'est la vie c'est la guerre there are no more
doctors more importantly there are no more
black doctor's bags, no more stethoscopes
there are plenty of folks who can't comprehend the absolute
despair of watching a wind-up elephant
pedaling a trike
tip over as I am right now
as my head becomes a light-blue lightbulb
it's not what Mamma wanted what Mamma wanted was
a new turquoise car
& visions of the beautiful for instance a conical party hat
walking past a flatiron building on a lemon yellow
soda pop of a saturday afternoon
which reminds her of a song
for four hands
& pink & turquoise visions of the beautiful a
picnic basket & excelsior & every possible color of
jelly beans
I'm going to town
where everyone as if they had much choice
dreams dreams
                            & one night Jane dreams the circus has come to town

& the town's a laundry basket developing mildew
& the mildew's a town with its outskirts & storefronts boarded up
& the board of directors spends wednesday on the phone
spouting obscene graffitti
& as usual Jane comes to in Golden Gate Park
which as usual teems with ducks & perambulators
Look at me I say I'm an Easter basket


  1. I'll have to say this isn't the usual "hopping down the bunny trail" kind of Easter poem. I love the line "rootbeer-flavored lollipops
    sucked clean to the cardboard fingerbone"!

  2. Hi Willow: No, that was a different bunny trail for sure. Hope you had a happy Easter.

  3. Now that is a different Easter-ish poem! I like the line "peppermint candy wrappers crackling something electric gone on the fritz"... yes, I can just now hear the crackling of the wrapping around candy AND that cellophane wrapping paper that surrounded new Easter baskets in the store.

  4. Thanks Lizzy! Yes, cellophane does have a distinct sound.

  5. I just love the way your poems reflect the places where you were living when you wrote them.

    Your SF poems are so psychedelic. Very cool.

  6. Thanks Reya:

    SF was a very inspiring landscape for me-- it really resonated!

  7. oh my, I do hear gracie (slick) singing....wonderful images!

    hope you had a very hoppy easter!

  8. LOL - I figured you must have been partying with Ferlinghetti - now Kimy thinks Gracie Slick was there. Me, oh me, oh my - wasn't that a party?

    p.s. I love the poem.

  9. Thanks Kimy & Sandra:

    No Grace or L. Ferlinghetti at the party, but thanks!

  10. I agree with willow - that rootbeer line - loved it.

    you and Kat are such gifts to the blogosphere. you both have reminded me how much i love poetry - what a big part of my life it once was - and how much i've missed it.

  11. How refreshing, an Easter poem that makes one think about important aspects of the everyday - and gives you an Easter surprise at the end. Great!

  12. Hi Jen & Dave:

    Thanks so much to both of you!


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