Alan Britt: Three Poems
From the flames two hips
like turkey drumsticks
rise from rancid expectations.
Violin coveted by my former
self, hence, the distance between us.
Pedestrian dreams capsized by typhoons
begging us to taste the distance
between sentimentality & lived life.
Violin drizzles fat over iron grills.
Acoustic bass like the Queen’s carriage
traversing a trail through the oblivious
forest locks lips with a viola spread
akimbo across Restoration velvet.
Priest directs spiritual traffic—
whiskbroom & dustpan in tow—
his Batman apron announcing one size fits
everyone who’s ever lived.
Oily skin demarcates viola frets
that resemble egret clouds foaming
just off the San Fran coast.
Jerry Muskrat, suspendered in all-weather
waders, & Granny Fox inspiring Cloris
Leachman’s Frau Blücher, followed
by Grandfather Frog, the patriarch.
He escaped that Palm Beach private school
& entered first grade with the ability
to chew Crayolas into Triceratops
then croon like a goldfinch trapped
between jalousies overflowing
sea grapes & fuchsia bougainvillea
while navigating Bermuda grass
& reptilian sprinklers hissing their mist
of jasmine & despair.
I was there.
Later, entering heaven via a different dream
through literal clouds
& landing flat on my belly
atop a shag carpet softer than
a blue whale’s baleen plates below
a white baby grand with two septuagenarian
women smiling Welcome home six months
preceding my boyhood Irish Setter submerged
in a skein of oatmeal tick & flea dip, I realized
my return to the place before I was born.
Both women, aforementioned, in their 70’s,
silver-haired, gracious, demure, & wafting
ethereal twin morning glory gowns,
were supremely confident
about my future.
(“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.)
Yet, beauty terrifies. Some want to destroy it, want to stab, strangle, shoot & dispute it, undermine it, satirize it, sanitize it, spit on it, pock it with cigarette butts, terrorize it, smash it with a hammer, imprison it, incinerate it, outlaw it, ridicule it, shame it, ignore it, banish it, tax it, annihilate it, mutilate, sabotage, nuke & eradicate it, brutalize it, smash & deconstruct, debauch, torment, & demoralize it, subvert it, paralyze it, disgrace it, capitalize & crush it, harass it, prosecute, drown & cauterize it, defame, pollute & humiliate it, scandalize, ravage & shatter it, slander it, stigmatize it, debase it, disfigure, denigrate & molest it, electrocute & incarcerate it, forever, which makes it sound so damned close to the truth—have we forgotten what truth looks like? Then perhaps it’s time to flaunt paisley sundresses & tie-dyed t-shirts designed by shamans strumming sitars to inspire a basic mistrust of faux philosophers in Kevlar vests disallowing imagination to flow the way it did before we feared it might never flow that way again.
Wouldn’t it be great
to make an alien laugh?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alan Britt’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Bitter Oleander, Cottonwood, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Stand (UK), plus countless others. He has been nominated for the 2021 International Janus Pannonius Prize awarded by the Hungarian Centre of PEN International for excellence in poetry from any part of the world. Previous nominated recipients include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bernstein and Yves Bonnefoy. Alan was interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem. He has published 20 books of poetry and served as Art Agent for Andy Warhol Superstar, the late great Ultra Violet, while often reading poetry at her Chelsea, New York studio. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University. ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/media/avfiles/poet-poem-alan-britt.mp3