Monday, December 12, 2011

Poems For Jamie Wyeth, Part Five



New Year's Calling

the snow stopped just after we fed the horses tonight
did you see the clouds speed away over the fields?
and the stars rang on as we walked up to the house
no, i don't suppose you did
you're too occupied with what happened
and how the horse made you a fool
i told you not to take him out on Boxing Day
too many damn fools and you insisted
and now you sit there wriggling in your cumberbund
which couldn't possibly feel right
three broken ribs and a black eye
and here we go to the Von Tooten's New Year's Party
and yet, just this once, i wish we had stayed home
there's a perfectly fine bottle of champagne in the ice box
and plenty of duck for sandwiches
Sylvia will be the first one you know
she'll tell you to sell the horse
for cheap
and she'll be the first one to make the offer
because she knows he's game
too game for you
and it will be veiled in concern
but next year he'll win the Maryland Hunt Cup
and she'll send us the notices from The Chronicle
don't eat the Merry Tomatoes by the way
they're soaked in vodka
Tommy damn near broke his neck
on the icy steps last year . . . do you remember?
of course not

II

i love you
i can't tell you how much
the snow betrays me
just look at the headlights
across the fields
i know i dreamed this night
when i was a little girl

III

if Tommy even looks at you
i'll punch him in the mouth
i won't hesitate
i'll do it
i'll drag him through the parlor
out the french doors
into the snow
and beat him bloody
like a christmas pig

IV

Do you remember the Merry Tomatoes?
Yes . . .
I won't make that mistake again
Oh, do, you were so funny . . .
I was?
You were darling . . .
They were delicious
Of course they were . . .
Like little bloody mary bombs
you almost broke your neck . . .
How many Maryland Hunt Cups?
8, no 9 . . .
And I've never come out of the tack
But the Merry Tomatoes . . .
Were my match
I'm going to make you a lovely cocktail plate . . .
I dare you
I'll do it . . .
And I'll devour them all

V

the puppies will come tonight
i just know they will
she'll have 8 or 9 or
ten!
and we'll be here
in the snow
in the ruffle
let's just have one drink
and slip home?
i don't want her to be alone
in the welping box
like a common foxhound

VI

is the President coming?
no . . .
but you said he was coming
well, she called and said that the snow
the snow?
the snow would keep them . . .
oh, well, i suppose, this will make things simpler
yes, simpler . . .
Sylvia will be broken-hearted
Sylvia will live . . .
Sylvia always lives

VII

there's a Great Dane in the driveway
that's Hester's dog . . .
why isn't it put up for the night?
Hester lets the dog do whatever it likes . . .
i heard the President is coming
well, then the President will meet the Great Dane . . .
M'am . . .
what is it?
M'am, there's a big dog in the driveway and it won't move
just drive around it Skeet . . .
but, M'am, i don't want to get stuck in the snow
it's okay Skeet, just drive around the dog . . .
why didn't you tell me the President was going to be here?
well, no one knew, until the hunt breakfast  . . .
on Boxing Day?
yes, where were you?
i was in the emergency room with Carroll, three broken ribs
oh!
that's a damn nice horse, he has no business. . .
Carroll has no business riding a mule
if i'd known the President was coming I would have worn my little elephant . . .
M'am?
What is it Skeet?
M'am, i've run aground of something . . .
Just hit the gas Skeet, but don't run over the dog
you know, my little gold elephant . . .
yes, with the pearl tusk and the ruby eye
all the same, the President is doing a fine job
i wonder if she'll hunt with us in the morning?
well, if she does, let's hope they give her a nice horse . . .
Carroll's horse?
oh!

VII

. . . "Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow."  . . .

there's never a poet
never
just once
i'd like to come to this thing
and be surprised by a poet
there i'd be,
standing on one foot
filling the other with champagne
juggling Merry Tomatoes
and up comes a poet
and recites to me
something a flame
something baudy
something
anything
to make me forget
another year has gone by
another goddamn year
but instead
Sylvia will whisper in my ear
something about volunteering
for the Hunt Ball committee
and i'll just die
just die of boredom

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