Dodie Messer Meeks has poetry in a couple of hundred journals and literary magazines and several anthologies. The Arts Alliance Center of Clear Lake published an illustrated collection of her work, entitled, “When I Got Dressed Again.” She is currently illustrating a children’s book of poetry for the publishers of The Lyric, which she describes as “the only poetry publisher older than I am, which is pretty amazing.”
Outside the window of my room
Big creamy plates of bloom
Keep spilling charcoal seeds.
The bees are slurping out there, dazed,
In two hundred proof magnolia
couched in leathery leaves.
All up and down the block
The neighbors’ lawns
Are clipped formica neat
But my garden
That they can hardly stand
Is all elbows and knees.
Salvia slavering down the walk
Ivy shinnying up the stalks
Of three kinds of anemone
Rioting as anemone can
Each stem erupting into ten.
That hospital gift gardenia
We gave a decent burial
Is pop-corned over with bloom
Enough for a funeral or two
Crowding a candelabra of lilies
Budded so aching tight
It hurts to look.
Those roses that you sent
Claw through whatever this is,
With veins of tattered blue
On international orange.
And I know I never put in
This goofy garlic patch.
That sad, young, wandering priest
We let sleep on our sofa for a spell
Was a fussy eater. These might be
From the kernels he threw out.
It’s taking on the mint.
Well. You know mint.
Smells like a candy cane
Has the soul of a virus.
They said to contain it
But don’t tell me
What to do with my darn mint.
So here’s a carpet of that.
Too thick to get a grip on
But for a leaf or two, for tea.
And here come some caladium
Unfurling burgundy veined with green.
The brass section. Aren’t they
Supposed to come back small?
Where you are, in London,
Crocuses peek through snow.
In Holland the tulips are marching along
Row on proper row.
Like ads for laundry soap.
But they have that purple scent.
It’s illegal to let poppies grow
In Greece. But they do, anyway,
Their hairy stems
Claw up through rock
Gasping for a breath of mist.
Boy. It’s moist here all the time.
I can stand in the middle of my house
And feel my garden buzz and seethe
Like mother, yanking on a sequined blouse
To wear to church. Saying whee.
Whoop de doo, Jim. Whoop de doo.
It’s just the gypsy in me.
We are grown unaccustomed now to trees.
They lean above and breathe a trailing mist
that slides in on all sides. They sway and list.
We urban dwellers stand and stare at these
as the Apaches did. They neared this mound
and signaled for silence. Quivering, intent
the shadowy riders listened, quickly bent,
slid down, and made their way around.
They saw the shape embedded in this stone.
We are grown unaccustomed now to these
contrivances of seed, these symmetries
of bark and darkened overlapping cone.
Was it some sudden silence shimmering
in rotted leaf and spears of splintered light
flickered the green gold sun as cold as night?
Or some large eye, half-open, glimmering?
Advice for the Bride
Dear little ladies with dear little voices
Have ended upended on ant teeming slopes
Or, after a tiff, have been dropped from a cliff,
Or dangled forlornly on slow-turning ropes.
Girls who must have the last word every argument
Have eaten their words in a dank dungeon keep
Or languished in stocks or been fed glowing rocks
Or watched cablevision and given up sleep.
Ladies with tongues far less acid than mine is
Gurgled on guillotines, writhed on the rack.
All that I have to fear—tell me I’m lucky, dear—
Is the dank certainty. He won’t be back.
All my proud sisterhood, swearing you will be good,
Wishing indeed you could be still as stone.
Raise your arm. Make a fist. Swear to remember this:
Grammatical errors are best left alone.
All my proud sisterhood, knowing too well you should
Be ever so careful to leave it unsaid.
No matter what you hear always remember, dear,
Never correct a man’s grammar in bed.
Other poems and illus. by Dodie Meeks: