By Diane Wakoski
I walk the purple carpet into your eye
carrying the silver butter server
but a truck rumbles by,
leaving its black tire prints on my foot
and old images the sound of banging screen doors on hot
afternoons and a fly buzzing over the Kool-Aid spilled on
flicker, as reflections on the metal surface.
Come in, you said,
inside your paintings, inside the blood factory, inside the
old songs that line your hands, inside
eyes that change like a snowflake every second,
inside spinach leaves holding that one piece of gravel,
inside the whiskers of a cat,
inside your old hat, and most of all inside your mouth where you
grind the pigments with your teeth, painting
with a broken bottle on the floor, and painting
with an ostrich feather on the moon that rolls out of my mouth.
You cannot let me walk inside you too long inside
the veins where my small feet touch
You must reach inside and pull me
like a silver bullet
from your arm.
Diane Wakoski, “Inside Out” from Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987. Copyright © 1988 by Diane Wakoski. Reprinted with the permission of David
R. Godine/Black Sparrow Press, www.blacksparrowbooks.com/titles/wakoski.htm.
Source: Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987 (1988)
The poetry of Diane Wakoski has affinities with that of Beat poets like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg: it alternates long and short lines, is frankly personal and wildly humorous, and expresses a mindset in stark opposition to Americans’ materialism and moralistic rigidity. Her conception of poetry as a deeply human and natural activity is reflected in her prolific production—over 40 collections published—while her “physiological imagery” of the female body has spoken powerfully to feminists.
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The man I pulled tonight
carried a load of books.
When I felt him watching
me uphill, I grimaced.
He gave me lunar
cakes the size
of two camel humps.
When I answered him,
I smiled to his face.
He wore the moonlight
in his specs. Pant
seams clean as the...
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