Thursday, April 12, 2007

Two Poems: David Thornbrugh

Ditch Algae

Ditch water between road
and winter-fallow fields
flows over brown scum
like a old man’s toothless gums,
frayed fabric flailing crystal
depths that seem subterranean,
peristaltic, sewage sludged.

We are drawn in like Elizabethan audiences
staring at ourselves onstage,
appalled at the resemblance
of a murderer to a saint,
how elaborately worked lace
resembles knife holes bloody from within,

water flowing along digestive tracts
filtered by gills growing scant inches
under the thin skin we rub together
in ecstasies of angel exaltation,
stain glass glow to our rosy meekness
straining to escape from winter-fallow fields,

bodies bounded by corn rows
cut to stubble browsed by sheep.
Winter water drained off sheep shit fields
flows weed-choked ditch through
fists of algae, single-celled as saints
praying for deliverance from the body,
for a way out of the ditch.

* * * * *

The Art Critic

TV announcer says
The Scream has been found
flashes picture of Edvard Munch’s
balloon man squeezing his cheeks
on that far northern bridge
stolen with emaciated Madonna
two years back and now returned

in his recliner my father stirs
like an elephant seal scenting an intruder
says “what’s the point of that”
of a painting so famous
it’s a plastic punch-me doll
sold in drug stores all over America

his idea of art doesn’t get much past
Spitfires and ME-109s mixing it up
over London the angst in his hand
clicks one channel after another
past the Mona Lisa and mastodons
scrawled on cave walls
abstraction not what his generation fought for

bare-breasted women painted on
bomber fuselages his way
of living with the terror of existence
he couldn’t hear the Scream
or see the Madonna’s fever
from 25,000 feet over Dresden
or Tokyo

~ "David Thornbrugh currently writes from South Korea, where he teaches English in a National University. He writes to push back the darkness a little bit at a time, in the same flighty manner as lightning bugs. He has been published in numerous small press journals, and once wrote the questions for a geography textbook. He prefers multiple choice questions to True/False."

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