"Pringles is a very laid-back company. Originally, they wanted to make tennis balls. But when the truck showed up full of potatoes, they just said, "Fuck it, cut 'em up." Mitch Hedberg

01 April 2012

Day 1: Seize the Carp (sestina)

The prompt for our first poem on the National Poetry Writer's Month is a "carpe diem" poem. This isn't really a poem in that vein, but I've always wanted to use this tonally inappropriate title.

Seize the Carp

There is so much granite
here that they are murdering the elders
just to produce tombstones.
The mason wants to buy land
build from the materials there;
to write my name and birth date on the door.

The taste of aluminum, the angry door.
Taxes may only be submitted in granite.
The scab-eater can come but the mason stays there,
where the best prisons are made of elders,
and the crows circle the tower twice before they land.
The big gray church, a big gray tombstone.

So what if this watery, singing tombstone
of mine has one hand on the door;
plans and labeled boxes and wilder land,
leaving the mason alone with his granite
bicycle, the broken mop, the branches of the elder
scraping against the walls, there,

by the headboard, the damned bells there,
disrespecting late sleepers and the tombstones.
Surrendering a crop of holidays to the elders
neglecting the statuary, worshiping the door.
Even the constellations were built with granite,
the stories we tell, unearthed from the land.

The bells circle the crows, the cow eats the land.
Felines watch from windows there
on the second floor, as the statues, the granite,
the churches, the stars, the tombstones
rub their shadows as far as they can reach. Doors
are fragile as the hymen, the elders

say we can only pass through them once. The elders
have retired their chisels, shovels; the land
is not even tired. It will shower you with stars and doors
statues, tandem bicycles, no twin to marble but there,
working his plough between the tombstones,
the mason composes oxen machines from the granite.

Poor mason, with your tools of unearthing; there there,
a purse of stone coin, a sin of tombstones,
Set the table for one, a feast of granite.


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