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BLLJSH Ill TryW il r . ti I - ll t.-1r v Mnr ..i Colin Sargent BLUSH .t Y i i nit 1 I T N i BLLJSH Poetry by Colin Sargent Drawings by Camille Cole Coyote Love Press Portland Maine 1987 1987 by Colin Sargent First Edition Crateful acknowledgments are extended to the editors of the fol- lowing periodicals in which some of the poems in this chapbook have appeared Virga Poet Lore Fall 1985 Green Ribbon Kelp and Flavors Like These Poet Lore Winter 1986 The Big Lights Ponland Review ol the Arts1985. Supportfor the publication ol this chapbook has been provided by a granttrom the Natrona Endowmentfor the Arts. Coyote Love Press books are available from the publisher at 294 Spring Street Portland Maine O41O2 from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance 19d Mason Street Brunswick Maine 04011 and from Small Press Distribution 1814 San Pablo Avenue Berkeley California94702 For Colin Sterling Sargent Contents Witch Hazel 3 Creen Ribbon Kelp 6 Fluorescent 8 Mirror Landing 11 Virga 13 Crickets 18 The Big Lights 20 Ffavors Like These 22 Descent From Taormina Sicily 23 Leisure ln A Dangerous World 25 The V-2s 26 SnowplowsAmberLightsig0seconds 27 The Day I Fall Off The Eiffel Tower 28 Five Alarm Chili The Stylite On Hotel Stationery 30 31 36 Those who prepared the nets were not the ones who Bot the most fish.ltwas the hoodlums and men who leaped into the mud and water where the nets could not work that rescu ed f rom the mud and water the finest load of fish. William Carlos Williams Witch Hazel I was looking for something new about Bar Harbor lonely and dark the lights of the shore hotels reaching deep into the Atlantic into something getting older and increasingly forgotten like a convention of the last Hegel scholars gathered glasses twinkling in the last grand dining room on the 122nd line of North longitude way out there in the exploding surf black and scary with seaweed slipping on life and death imperatives and some fool calling in the din for a lobster bib thats Bar Harbor for you but I didnt find it until night brought WNEW to me across the starry distance the Mills Brothers young again quite a shock travelling sentimentally like all line of sight transmissions hundreds of miles further into this neck of the celestial sphere than the signal should have carried them queer as hell and my family asleep in the back of the car while I start wondering if anyone else north of Hartford is hearing this unnaturally clear acute somehow and I imagine driving my father out here way out here l3l would he be young again too smoking green pre-War Lucky Strikes in a Palm Beach jacket the world still yellow with tube technology and I look over and my father is there Wendell P. Sargent looking so much like me I have to laugh clear as a bell even this young he smells like good advice and mosquito repellent and we strip down to naked whiteness and bathe in world wars and Witch Hazel. talking manfully about B-17s with our swarthy faces and brilliantined black hair we trade tans and anecdotes I tell him about the modern navy helicopters I can fly and how aviation has changed with differential collective pitch trim devices the size of complimentary maple syrup cans you get in the mail swirling dark and rich from Wolf River farm and we drive laughing together inland past the Rockefeller estates with our UHF headsets holding on gamely until were 14.3 miles behind the mountains and the radio shadows the huge pine islands falling behind us into the water and the last wisps of Lena Horne l4l stupefying the farmers sleeping above their bumpy potato fields the old Lena Horne sexy and ravenous with electricity and champagne before they encased her in lucite at the Kennedy Center her voice stabbing beautifully into the unseen parts of Maine yeah that musky dead velvet from New York. rFl tt Creen Ribbon Kelp Supernal Cliquot Club smashed on the rocks laminaria infinitum falling miles into sky and here we are two adults in a new Boston Whaler lost in the fog between Chebeague lsland and the rest of our lives not a scruffy Marin pine in sight between the thought and the ellipsis dots of our wake . . . Just When we were swallowed we really cant say we were driving to work buying diamonds and taking out some really magnificent insurance policies I wonder why insurance sounds like a jar of pennies being shaken by a little girl A12-year-old girl who has grown up to be my wife and the next thing we know were making small talk as we inch forward bracing for whatever comes next as if our Mercury outboard is going to crash us against high seriousness or cancer or religion or how many other unseen perturbances bearded through the centuries t6l with symphonies and marine growth And then Cretel suggests we start dropping breadcrumbs but were Yankee dogs so we only have trash toxic shock and bright soda bottles barbecue potato chips bobbing behind us on the emerald seas Then the seaweed turns to music and an old giaour in a yellow slicker beckons to us pulling us in like Donnelly Advertising or Cod on the aerial Maine turnpike his arrows made to disperse the astroplane And its nothing we dont deserve to be left swirling in lumps of our own green kelp no clear tones anymore just these beautiful snapping strumpet notes. 171 Fuorescent One ill llama on the moon the lime green moon When youre sta When youre reading and your eyes get tired and the print gets dizzy and glazes backwards and forwards and you feel like shee one ill llama in the moon on a giant pink lake and the llama builds a little stick house between the two els in ill and two els in llama in the ledding space right here ill0llama between but now its an 0 and not a llama hiding bowl a rama tBl the ball whoo rolling toward the pins 10 of them at the end of semantics that gllass alley allways llamas and busted words blasted lll tell ill llamas yeah them fat black sticks o o o tel iQ. I il 1 t Mirror Landing For his instruments showed true Cod and magnetic Cod. For his Navy jet was going 330 miles per hour. For he could see the runway lights. For everything went black. For nothing. For he didnt see the slash pines in the dark. For there was subtotal decapitation with avulsion and disintegration of the brain. For no gloves were found on either hand. For inspection of the photographs shows small minor tears of the outer garments which are covered with dirt and smallfragments of green foliage. For excellent B x10 color prints are provided by the lnvestigation Board Flight Surgeon. For the body is clothed in a Nomex flight suit C-suit survivalgear and flight boots. For his Navy jet was going 330 miles per hour. For his dials were spinning dangerously. For there was just a second just a second when he . . . For he never raised his voice. For the hair is short brown and soaked with blood and dirt. I 11 l For his prostate gland weighs 30 grams and is unremarkable. For the right and left testicles have a combined weight of 40 grams and are unremarkable. For the tower couldnt raise him from the dark. For there was XXX damage to government property limited to .31 acres of pinehardwood timber. For damage to forest from salvage operation amounts to 180 dollars for soil preparation and reseeding trees. For natural regeneration of pinehardwood species is expected to occur. XXX t12 I Virga You have to be flying in order to see it. It begins and ends in the sky unseen except by airline pilots and allthey can tellyou is what theyve learned by rote that it is called virga an ethereally beautiful phenomenon that never touches the ground. Period. virga ln fact this unseen rain at 20000 feet is diaphanous airy Pre-Raphaelite stuff and not just another pretty ethereally beautiful phenomenon sitting up there above Mount Olympus with its dress pulled over its head. Now dont worry virga . . is not a metaphor for Danaes a priori and roseate sex life rain I13 l that never makes its destination and allthe sort of dry rot thats eating up Wallace Stevenspoor moth-eaten tuxedo of a universe just now its just that virga is errata is forever falling for thousands of feet with its own unforecast aura unloved by poets evaporating in a few sparkles seen by a few Eastern Airlines pilots on their way to Tampa And brought back to the earths surface as bits of ethereally beautiful truth and empty bloody mary cans plastic forks and lemon slices truth is virga maybe because people who can describe it disappear along with it before they can tell us about it whole people with never never shoes falling thousands of feet ice crystals with briefcases and families t14 l and complete lives I want to stress that evaporating along with this soulless substance and having as the announcer at Oxford Plains Speedway who has never virga will tellyou the most fun a human can ever have and if you can feel a few drops youre Danae and this is not virga because virgas unscrubbed beauty only as long as you never see it maybe its even this poetry as long as you never read it. I1s l Crickets Walking down the hill into the stars with my red-haired two-year-old son another Colin who sings to the son of the Man in the Moon under milk wood Underwood Road words he doesnt know And across the water to Chebeague lsland where the stars have fallen and fixed themselves exactly on top of creosote poles connected in an intricate design to Central Maine Power Co. Ltd. We look for Cricket not Platos cricket but the one he heard last June back then there were zillions of them symphonies of invisible black legs but now its winter and as its been getting colder every night the cricket voices have been well for two weeks weve been dreaming crickets into the night silence well shake our heads and tlBl shh Be quiet. I cant tell . . . And lfind my_self in a glass booth 10 years ago in a Navy flight jacket and a silly mustache straining to pass the Naval Aviation audio test for high and low frequency hearing Wondering if those low notes are really there at the bottom of the register whispers December crickets buried beep beep beep below creosote po.les below thought itself or is my mind supplying them theres another one I smile implausibly While the Cricket leads my son out to his plane I try to run after him but shh Be quiet. lcanttell . . . tlel The Big Lights Its something the philosophers might ponder the way that big W swept the ocean at night between 1974 and 1976 from the roof of the Sea Spray Motor Inn The lights were designed to bring in tourists driving south from Montreal lci en parle Franqais but what came instead was fish Whole galleries of herring drinking in the voltage 200 yards offshore and loving it thousands of shivers they were and no one knew about them until a Woods Hole oceanographer got lucky stumbled into them in a wetsuit He was alone that night swimming beyond the breakwaters and his own suspended disbelief Beyond Osiris and the holy rollers the breakers phosphorescent in the foam and two black years later when the eight-story Sea Spray was destroyed and the lights went out forever No one ever told the herring who still wait out there like Ciants fans season t20 l after season still believing Heathcliff willfind Cathy in the moors that Mr. Milligan who now lives in the Canary lslands Willfinally take his too-long sideburns behind the hot water heater and throw that great power switch Lighting everything clear to the Crand Banks this time and eight ears from now theyll still be out there passing the legend down by word of mouth still hung up on that magnificent absence The sentimental little appetizers quite unseen by Canadian tourists and year-round residents who at last report were fast asleep in their Hudsons Bay blankets snoring beneath their horoscopes. 121 l Flavors Like fhese When marvelous people die where do they go I lie on a couch wondering this spooning milliliter after milliliter of creamy Celare ltalian ice cream and now the ice creams gone and theres just the spoon smooth and rum warm from my own creamy ruminations lcould look up into the sky for them like the ancients did or look at my royally bedecked grandfather with U.S. Navy commanders regalia staring down at me but it wouldnt bring him back Its just me this ice cream and my lazy young heart which will someday stop beating like yours will or hers will or my sons will black tomorrow with the smooth creamy surface youve got to break some eggs and shed some tears to get flavors like these. l22 l Descent From Taormina Sicily Stylish and riding easily atop the framework of this English bicycle lglide reverberating over the cobblestones. Something starts a blurring here a reduplication of last years thoughts and I try to remember Debbie her white palaces of jazz and the tuzzy myopia of wire-rimmed glasses. Severalforgotten cups of this coffee telescope me against the suns edge and I hold these mountains up to the light hoping to see the secret watermarks the green fluids splashing against white temples of vision and lm rolling down faster now the sides of this road rushing verdant and sweet fresh with the scent of recent composition. l23 l I am afraid of such gliding blurred and backwards the flux of bushes speeding my lilacs back into time it is several months ago there are snows on the mountains now and dreams like dizzy lilacs smudged against the snows mimeographed into inter. I24 l Leisure in a Dangerous World The lady with the bright lipstick on her kleenex is already too close. I eye the kleenex as it drops from her open mouth down to her clenched pink fist and pretend not to hear as she laughs oh yes how that woman can laugh. The lady with the bright lipstick what color is bright coughs and stuffs the kleenex in my mouth. I dream of germs and pearls a dagger from State Street an unlucky bumper one summer A sister with criminal tits a blue striped mattress bones in my salads an innuendo in any window. I2sl The V-2s There we were eating bowls of red soup in sorry rags. We were in London then average wolves ravaged by hunger men on whom suspense could fall softly. Stop your ears blow out your brains it didnt make We could hear them whistling over the fens over heathery English skies youd spot them for a second then nothing. Women baking fat pies held their breath. The old silence was back again and girls in nylons did they wear nylons back then I was about to say fhebuzz.bombs afforded us a sly violence dangerous maybe but for fools of 100 percent wool they were a new intrusion almost welcome and we banged our spoons and looked above and l26 l Snowplows I Amber Lights I gO Seconds The fisherman in the unnecessary blue cap but he wont take it off says to the little girl in Shaws Supermarket but she wont believe him because she knows its snow outside and not white rain thats covering the mainland and the Casco Bay seals that later that evening when shes fast asleep and the snowplows are clearing even faster and faster shellforget the snows falling even last year than last year. l27 l The Day I Fall Oft The Eiffel Tower In this dream I am dying on my back looking up at the crowd staring down at me you looking sadly down at my beautiful fading maple syrup eyes with lashes too long to have ever been a mans and yet lm looking up your dress the blue and orange one I bought you when I was alone in ltaly and ldecide lam not ready to die and carefully lift lifes giant automobile off my chest. A golden thatch of sex waits between your legs. I dust off the stars note my suits declination while I adjust my tie promise to guide you into heaven like a gentleman As we step into the car and hit the gas your white slip showing a bit and picking up speed we rejoin lifes ancient rush. t28l A baby is born. The stars French genealogies are far too complicated. Bowls and bowls of the most beautiful crab soup in Maryland await us. l2el Five Alarm Chili l cant taste it anymore said Doctor Sterling Lafayette Davis the sweet and grouchy 92-year-old dentist from the Piney Woods in Northeast Texas the forest where all the bluebirds flew when they deserted Maine flying down the magenta line from Kittery to Doctor Daviss eucalyptus tree like a stolen blue symphony in 1953- theyd have looked beautiful over his white porcelain driveway if hed had time to do more than joke about it-thats right- the yanked teeth of black ladies and veterans from 1912 to 1960 to provide that sleepy crunch beneath the tires of your rented car- but he only laughed about it never did it as the birds sang in the balmy air around his white cottage the pretty lattice and the evergreens going on for miles arpeggios of bluebirds like halfnotes on the telephone wires and all the while his taste buds feeling more and more like slammed out salesmen allthat red hot Mexican barbecue sauce standing sadly behind his closed screen doors knocking on the distant side of zing. t30 l The Stylite At first theyd raise their eyes to me and laugh think me selfish sharp crow in a black cape crouching on his spire beside a pile of books gilt-edged vertigo and no talk with anyone murder mysteries the woman would send secretly up to me until the world was filled with butlers Evilfellows with quinine smiles all of them butlers on Tahitian islands carrying silver trays and no explanation for the Lord their Cod as the distant waves broke soundlessly on brilliant tropical birches... My eyes are fading. From this height I could look down and see a dime when I was young pre-Roosevelt and Mercury was only Secretary of the Navy at the time Needles glinting with just a hint of purpose. The biggest question is how I got here to shinny up 45 feet of marble two elms thick seems impossible enough t fL and yet elms are quickly felled in the supersensible realm. Those crows those brilliant tropical dust and madness my companions and the time lsnuck down and married my wife shes a dentist now with magazines in her reception rooms and a simple rope up to me to transport my bones and offal down to who knows where the woman simply carries the basket to the basement while I pull up the empty noose My father was here before me alone as all New England he left But then he came back here back to the ocean and the rocks and the column of pure surimi he struggled back upon icy fish stick vertical seafood evil tinctured with mercurichrome 200 feet this time scuffing t33 l his Florscheims up the creosote pole to his and Central Maine Powers godless star While they buried .y mother in marble in this place heavy with the cancerous magnificence of forever Victorian Chi Chi And when his uniforms got old he started wearing the black robe gesturing for his daily pittance in perfect proportions the magic frosted box of little green peas dropping boiled potatoes on the tourists below butlers yes and that erubescent pattie of ground lean beef every night No more the days with Chi Chi and our family at Dots Lunch in Kennebunkport with the really good deal lobster rolls This marble looks like lobster really and the ceiling a sworled lobster salad red and white desarollado l34 l on a polished white surface And the quiet steps below of the visitors examining the area wondering how we got here first burying our heads in the air and still climbing Easter lslanders in the Pine Tree State with good water views and plenty of altitude really my fathers pillar is a little further to the south now but hes still not so far away that he misses my beautiful island halloos way up here Echoing over the toll booths and out the window somehow this pillar is growing like a tree Taking me above this heavy marble like lobster salad and into the air lm sorry to be going away but the only alternative would be to sweep up my black cape aim for the blacktops magic frozen box New England grave you cant understand .y reasons yes I know and dive. t3sl On Hotel Stationerv Alone where beauty lives in that terribly perfect place where Byron went fishing at night in the blue Aegean I cant help but think of the nobility of age my bourbon having rowed me to the far edge of the lake how noble it is and how rare to have forgotten how even to wear loafers at night how to get speeding tickets to have forgotten how to perspire to reach up a girls dress her soft legs yielding to gasp at the top floor of the glass elevator at the Hyatt Regency lfeel it allfalling the pretty sails headlong and confused laughing intelligent black rigging and the water rising drowning and burning while were all getting younger in that terrible place alone where beauty lives. l36 l The type-face used in Bush is Monotype Lasercomp Optiina. Originally designed in the 1950s by Her- mann Zapf to be a sans serif tlrpeface with weight and character and here used because like the poems it is modern yet with classical roots dy- namic and slightly eccentric Witch Hazel Flavors like These are my fa- vorites. Lots of strong work throughout. -Charles Simic These poems are flashy funny risky surprising and true. Over and over I found the poet making just the right choice. I came out of it feeling that Id met somebody new. -BillCarpenter Unlike most contemporary poetrl Colin Sargents poems are memorable long after we first encounter ihem. His images crackle the leaps that link the mysterious and the mundane are often daring e.9. virga and empty bloody mary cans the poems flow twist and shine like silky jazz. -Barbara F. Lelcowitz Co-editor Poet Lore -1-. .. - ft .fl s hdr 1 ttr a t.i I 7.9s lsBN 0-913341-11-8