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  Lynn Strongin
   
     

E-thereal
 

(for Aracelis)
 

“Altar of Heaven”
 

(poems inspired by Jennifer Compton “For the Talking Statues”
 

translate: Marforio in Via del Campidoglio and the Babuino in Via de Babuino
 

And variations on Jennifer Compton’s “Talking Statues”
Russians at the Estonian embassy in Moscow today protested the removal of a Soviet commemorative statue last night from downtown Tallinn, Estonia.


© Lynn Strongin
for “Poetry Kit”
Liverpool. U.K. Spring 2007
Free of his wheelchair and tethered only to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on Thursday fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet, a step he hopes will lead to further space adventures.(New York Times. April 27, 2007)


 

I.
 

I let them down
 

Like smokestacks lowered to let clouds pass

 

Like grain evaluators toppled
 

Like a shower of falling stars.

 

My family
 

By visiting, because paralyzed

 

Immersed
 

In quicksandI could not travel. They rebuffed me. I let them down.
 

This, the test of love:
 

I failed.

 

Carry coals to Newcastle.
 

        I’ll fly when hell freezes over. Meantime, statues speak.
 

 

*
 

 

They let me down
 

From carrying me

 

Springing a trampoline, soil pushing earth back
 

To my lifting & carrying them

 

Portage with a smile
 

For a life time.

 

More ether
 

More ozone

 

I’d too have a name like Hawking:
 

A girl gone hawking

 

Not newspapers
 

But wind

 

Gathered under my wings
 

Not like those senzatetto

 

The homeless in Rome
 

Without roofs, aerials

 

Denied freedom of speech.
 

Yet cobbler Pasquino wrote fun-poking comments

 

Attached to a rough chunk of marble his his shop.
 

His statue was used as a stepping stone

 

In muddy, cart-rutted medieval streets until 1501.
 

 

*
 

 

So this body, tethered, which lets me down & lets them down
 

Begins to talk in flight

 

To conduct dialogues
 

Above Italia which loves the handsome, the svelte

 

Which makes art out of
 

Poorness
 

Like a grandmother’s cape
 

It could work. It could be elegant

 

Flight
 

So don’t say no to me.

 

Mother told my earliest sitters,
 

“don’t say no to my daughter.”

 

They didn’t.
 

Only gravity

 

Pulled me down like mercury
 

Till I built places
 

I could not up to

 

Our of dire need

 

Or lease alive as “lightning” fly.
 

------------

2.

 

And the loved God so longed to give God (Jennifer Compton”
 

I would weep for flight
 

But colorless air

 

A destination
 

Above, around,

 

Totally off the atlas
 

Defying radar

 

“I really wanted to go”
 

but what a morning up north for “The History of Art Through the Ages.”

 

These are the ages
 

& I’m not getting thru:

 

O leper of St Giles
 

My brain’s in overdrive
 

After the burn of the funeral
 

Dying to spring up & out again.

 

O Altar of heaven.
 

-------------------

3

 

        “Death Cab For Cutie sings Crooked Teeth (Jennifer Compton part# 6)
 

I know these people & will kneel at their feet soon

 

Jetlagged

 

Watching tourists carrying valise filled with sorrow:
 

Newspapers a year old.

 

This is a replay.
 

Silent. Drowned.

 

A biffo is a shiner:
 

A black eye. Can an angel get one

 

Flying between world & world
 

Nothing appearing on the shoulder?
 

I grow older.
 

Do not look down. Scrap looking down. Madonnas look down. Contrite girl look down.

 

“Enough is as good as a feast.”
 

So is too little:

 

It rings bells,
 

Sirens on red trucks shrike thru streets:

 

I have hungered all the years
 

& not been invited to the feast.
 

----------------

4.

 

Language Immersion
 

Can drown one, waters lapping over lips like kissing

 

Over chin
 

& skullbone

 

the shape
 

lovely as a statue              sinking.

 

My profound fear as a girl
 

Was that life would become paralyzed

 

Like me
 

Time stand still
 

        A beggar halted in my doorway
 

        Hand stretched out with cup, him blind & me no money to give or see.
 

----------------

5.

 

“The salt and sugar, the lilt and swing / of the other” (Jennifer Compton part #8)

 

Roma’s weather is
 

Litmus paper

 

Picks up the mood
 

Of the other

 

What would life be
 

Without salt & sugar?

 

Sheets of paper
 

Fly off like sheets from the washline.

 

John Playford was clever enough to collect the signal
 

Of other music:

 

The Signal
 

Everywhere music takes you.
 

-------
6.

 

Spark Studio

 

“It is not in my heart to be glad”
 

I observe I stand on a place of content.

 

I lift this heart out of y chest
 

Reaching under the vest

 

Embroidering with roses
 

The flow of blood

 

So apt:
 

The tassel Italian trump
 

Ragazzi bare chested boys.

 

Hip hopping.
 

The string

 

Of joy
 

Plucked
 

Lit
 

In them from toe to chin.

 

7.
 

Air is tinder
 

Is winter:
 

We need it to burn

 

Tinder
 

Kindling.

 

Hummel not a real star today but a competitor of Beethoven.
 

I no longer crack blue eggbox open with a spoon

 

Things too green
 

I wear black glasses to the razzle-dazzle of them.

 

Free of his wheelchair and tethered only to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on Thursday fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet, a step he hopes will lead to further space adventures.
Unable to talk or move his hands and legs, Hawking can only make tiny facial expressions using the muscles around his eyes, eyebrows, cheek and mouth. He uses a computer attached to his
wheelchair to talk for him in a synthesized voice by choosing words on a computer screen through an infrared sensor on a headpiece that detects motion in his cheek.


 

 

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