| Featured Poet: Lynne Thompson
Twilight of the Iguana
(Una Historia de Los Poetas)
One thousand open doors.
Trembling blades of grass,
we are still alive.
A red sun pours from their eyes
and quasars and pulsars.
in a meadow's dark mysteries.
In a boiling kettle, gingery soap.
In transition, mariposa fluttering.
Fish and the reflections of fish.
Nights' storied colors buried in caves.
Antique forests' laurel and thyme
to be deciphered by elusive lovers.
What they always will be,
chosen, invented posthumously:
shadow and defiant root,
panpipes of ivory and bone,
the lilies of a crazy cosmos
when the Portuguese arrivedaEUR|.
Mama taught me ugly
every summer morning
when she'd wake us up,
untangle our slim brown legs
nightly knitted into coverlets
in the darkness
while we slept.
Yawning, we'd stumble-fall,
playful as baby Persians,
into the bathroom, share
shower, half-brush teeth,
scramble for scrambled eggs
& bacon, then dress uniformly:
shorts, t-shirts, open-toed sandals
and march into her for the Rite
of the Braiding of the Little Girls Hair.
Mama always began the ceremony
with them, one before the other,
then visa versa
every other day.
The one with green eyes
had 1000 loose, soft curls
and took longer but
mama didn't mind
and always sang
for the first 40 minutes
brushing, then ending
by binding the 2 butt-long braids
together at their bottoms
with tri-colored ribbons rescued
from an old cigarbox.
you could still see
the chaotic ringlets burst
merrily from those braids,
flapping about like the tails
of friendly mermaids.
The other one had dark eyes
black as oriental pools
where zen masters are said
to mine secrets;
she had no curls
but mama didn't mind
and worked rhythmically
for 60 minutes to put ringlets
in her arrow-straight hair
then tied them
with white silk threads,
whistling to herself, softly,
while running peapod-shaped combs
through the strands
like she was unfurling gypsy strands.
you could still see
that hair reflecting shine
like the shine of the enamel boxes
atop an antique wicker table
on mama's side of the bed.
Finally, she didn't waste any time
with me, sing or whistle,
just briskly combed, brushed, spit
down the nappy strays, 10 minutes tops.
Then out we all went,
if only for a summer,
to innocent play,
my mother's lovely daughters
What Poverty Does
Poverty sits on the side of a road
frying day-old bread and bananas.
Cups one dove brown hand upward for alms.
Wraps a serape tight against cold with the
Follows abuela into Bugambilia Restaurante
where she sells dolls, candy and scraps of
Poverty stares through the eyes of old men in le
who, having seen it all, have seen
too much, but still hope.
It clips the wings of el pajaros fleeing
La Parroquia's steeples at six o'clock.
At 6:15, it stills the laughter of los ninos
who play with a crippled cat that has no home
& whistles through the bared teeth of
playing war games with the bones of bony
Poverty rolls up the cobblestones en la noche
then, unable to sleep, encircles its arms
around the wide hips of aging women in the dark.
(in tribute to the artist,
William H. Johnson)
Bend me backwards, baby,
and hold my hand up high.
Woncha bend me backwards, baby,
and hold my hand up high?
If you'll wrap your arms around me,
you & I can flit and fly!
O, honky-tonk me, baby,
dance me right on out my shoes.
You know you honky-tonk me, baby;
woncha dance me * right on out these shoes?
With your cheek so close to mine, dear,
you sho' can shimmy-shake my blues.
My man looks so good tonight that
I don't care what folks may say.
They say we look too fine tonight, love,
so we don't care what folks may say.
The man can talk his ole jive number,
but we're fine as hell here anyway.
So, bend me backwards, baby *
hold our hands up to the sky.
Dip and bend me backwards, baby,
and hold our hands up to the sky.
With your strong black arms around me,
you & I will flee and fly!
Lynne Thompson is a native of Los Angeles with a
Caribbean heritage. Her first chapbook, We Arrive
Accumulation, was published in 2002 and
other work has appeared or is forthcoming in
Review, Louisiana Literature,Rattle, Runes, Solo
Pearl as well as on the websites
and moondance.org. She can be reached at
poetess151 at earthlink dot net