Belle Laide

Belle Laide, a poetry collection by Joanne Dwyer (poetry, ’09) is now available from Sarabande Books.



First my father Killing Me Softly with his Roberta Flack album.

Then my son Killing Me Softly with his Fugees CD.

On my shoulder a carcinoma that will eventually kill me –

will eat my flesh, as I eat yours.

I bit hard, sucked hard, not to mark you as my possession

as the rancher burns his ranch insignia into young calves –

but to try and ingest, to take in

that which cannot be eaten.

Outside my window the tiny clawed feet of birds

slip on the ice in the cement birdbath

like the elderly couple who have not skated in half a century.

The birds peck and peck, but the ice remains

an impenetrable obstacle to thirst. 

I can see why lovers commit suicide together.

And why you enter me with such abandon –

a blind man’s stick tap, tapping

resolved to the knowledge that death is always

only a foot in front of him. At any moment

the cane may fail him and he may fall

into the deepest, blackest well.

Excuse me un momentito, while I boil

water to pour on the ice. Bullshit!

you’re not going to take time to boil water

when it scalds right from the tap.

I admire the couple for strapping

on those blades after all these years.

At least they have each other to hold onto.

And one can always drive the other to the hospital.

I feel like Charles Bukowski,

I eat small pork sausages with my hands,

wipe the grease on my pajamas

and speak about the opposite sex with scorn.

Though I doubt I’ll ever be able to bare my soul

as fearlessly as he. Blame it on

lights-out love songs, paralytic poisons,

and the distraction of hundreds of birds

outside my window –

and my full time obsession

as keeper of their water.

Read More at Sarabande Books




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