Two Poems

by Jeffrey Burghauser (February 2019)

The Marne at Chennevières
, Albert Marquet, 1913
At my little son’s request, we paused
Upon a timber bridge across a dry
Exurban creek, him wondering what caused
This grim condition. Suddenly, his sly
Hypothesis salutes, accosts the day
Like dishes falling from a cabinet:
“Dad! All the water has to stay away
Because of all these pebbles blocking it!”
What an awful partner at the dance
Is Knowledge. Yes, her counterfeits (who drawl,
And smoke, and loaf) much more appeal to me,
For they deliver all the confidence     
Of knowing (knowing) whilst preserving all
The wonder that’s involved in mystery.

The Market, Audierne, Albert Marquet, 1928
Farmer’s market, Sunday morning: Big
Eggs from an athletic hen,
Agate fruit, jam, yoghurt, beryl sprig,
Soap flakes scented like a fen,
Dense loaves piled over linen shawls…
Lightly sauntering amid the stalls,
Beautifully unshaven men.
And within their easeful, fluent reach, 
The mandorla of a mate:
Vapor evanesced with bronze, and each
Animated by the late
Summer’s ultimate, unclouded THUS,
Novels, herbal tea & amorous
Exercise. Enchanted state.
Bastards. Dumbly circling the dark,
Lush adjacent suburb’s hems,
I’m convulsing for a place to park.
Even sweet Jerusalem’s
Holiness seems strangled down to naught
When you cannot find a parking spot.
Ulcers grow like little gems.
Let me in. The autumn chill may kneel
Fast already in the vined
Houses’ shadows, and in those that peel
From my body like a rind—
For my mind’s as furiously skewed
As Petrarcha’s in his darkest mood,
But not nearly as refined.

[1] “Paraklausithyron, a lover's song at his beloved's door, in which he begs for admission and laments his exclusion. It occurs in a variety of poetic genres (e.g. lyric, idyll, epigram, comedy, mime, elegy).”—Oxford Classical Dictionary

Jeffrey Burghauser is an English teacher in Columbus, Ohio. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo, the University of Leeds, and currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have previously appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Lehrhaus, New English Review, and Iceview (Iceland).

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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