Sunday, November 6, 2011

Geography: A Poem by Mark Wright (copyright 2011)


There was a time when
the world turned at my touch.
A desk lamp
and a good spin made day
turn to night
and back to day again
over the Fiji Islands,
where surely
there were better things
to do after school than

In my desk drawer, I kept
a small plastic bag of rubble
that was supposedly from
the Berlin Wall.
But on my desk top, Germany
was still divided.
The Soviets still ruled
the Bloc,
and Czechs and Slovaks
were mashed together
in tiny print just above

Rand McNally should have
offered a refund when names
and boundaries
But, then, I wouldn’t have known
what to do with a new world
any more than Columbus
did when he sailed
the wrong way
to Asia.

Back then, I could cross
the Atlantic in a split
And Greece was just
a fingernail’s length from
the tip
of Italy’s boot.
And I didn’t spend my days
wondering what the night
was like
where you are.  

Ruts: A Poem by Mark Wright (copyright 2011)


I never sit in the old rocking chair
in the corner of my master bedroom.
The wooden seat (where I’m told Mom rocked me as a baby)
is rigid and painted a semi-glossy black.
The back support is composed of narrow spindles
like the spokes of a wheel that won’t turn.
The rails have dug
semi-permanent ruts
into the mauve carpet.
And the chair gives off something
of a moldy musk on rainy mornings
when the damp air seeps in from around the patio door.

I do find the rocker is a suitable place
for stacking laundry.
I pull clean clothes from the dryer and toss them
on the rocking chair.
I wait until it’s piled high before I decide
it’s time to fold the heap of clothes.
When the floor gets cluttered,
I often set a magazine, playbill or football program
on the chair
for a short while
before discarding
the mostly-unread items in the trash.

After college, I furnished my first apartment
with all the things Dad and his new wife said they didn’t need.
Their charitable contributions included
(among other things)
the rocking chair
and a box filled with old photo albums
chronicling my parents’ wedding and the years before
and just after my birth.
The box collects dust in a closet
and conceals a Polaroid of Mom struggling
to pry a Frisbee from the taut jaws of a black lab
that died in 1987.
I try to keep the chair looking presentable (for the rare visitor)
by wiping it down
with a wet rag now and then.
But I cannot completely erase
the thin ring of dust around each narrow spindle.

-- Mark Wright