Jean Marie Martello’s reading at Tauny 10/8/2012

Please can I have a man

Please can I have a man who wears corduroy.
Please can I have a man
who knows the names of 100 different roses;
who doesn’t mind my absent-minded rabbits
wandering in and out
as if they own the place,
who makes me creamy curries from fresh lemongrass,

who walks like Belmondo in A Bout de Souffle;
who sticks all my carefully-selected postcards –
sent from exotic cities
he doesn’t expect to come with me to,
but would if I asked, which I will do –
with nobody else’s, up his bedroom wall,
starting with Ivy, the Famous Diving Pig,

whose picture, in action, I bought ten copies of;
who talks like Belmondo too, with lips as smooth
and tightly-packed as chocolate coated
(melting chocolate) peony buds;
who knows that piling himself drunkenly on top of me
like a duvet stuffed with library books and shopping bags
is very easy: please can I have a man

who is not prepared to do that.
Who is not prepared to say I’m pretty either.
Who, when I come trotting in from the bathroom
like a squealing freshly-scrubbed piglet
that likes nothing better than a binge
of being affectionate and undisciplined and uncomplicated,
opens his arms like a trough for me to dive into.

-From Violet (1997) by Selima Hill: “The person I am is much nicer than the person I think I ought to be… Poets in their poems feel safe. And when we feel safe we feel free. Free to love. To trust our reader. To forgive our tormentors. To be tender. To meet God, and camels and suitcases and dogs and lettuces… ‘If you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail’ (Nietzsche). If you are a poet, everything begins to look beautiful! I don’t mean you have to like it (it, the world, everything) — but you do have to love it. This is what my poetry can say.”


The Hungry Wolf

I’m hungry, so, so hungry.
I haven’t had a whole meal for
three weeks. There is a burning stone
in the pit of my stomach.
I feel weak and tired. I don’t
even have the strength to hunt.
If only, if only a meal would come
my way, I’d eat anything.

What’s this I hear? A song?
Why, it’s a group of little piggies.
They have weak shelters, a wind
could blow them down. I could
blow them down. I am so hungry.
I will blow with my dying breath
to have a fat, full dinner. I’ll blow
and blow and blow, until the pigs
are mine. I will dine on their flesh.

This house blew down easily, but
the pig got away. I will chase
these little bastards all day. I will take a page
from the lion’s book and kill all three
if I can, and eat for days, until I feel
like a fat, satisfied pig. I am big, much
bigger than any of them, and more
cunning, and so hungry. They look
like all they do is eat. Fat three pigs.
I’d even share the feast if I am too full.

Let the vultures pick away
at what remains of the pigs. I will
feel satisfied for days, but first, I must
find where this one ran, to his brother,
of course. This house looks weak,
but my dying breath is strong, I blow,
and two pigs run away. That’s okay.
I bet they ran to their other brother.
I’ll make my way to another weak shelter
and catch all three, a farrow of piglets.

I follow the scent, and here they are
in a sturdy brick house, I haven’t the
breath for this, but I sneak down the
chimney, and they burn my ass. Another
day of hunger, starvation, denial.
The stone in my gut grows into a monster.
A rabbit hops by and I have a bit of meat.
It’s no pork dinner, but there’s plenty
of quick little rabbits out here to eat. Plenty.


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