Yellow Rose

As per request, here is the poem I mentioned in Monday’s post.  I don’t know what made it come into my head at that party; I heard the author read it live when I was 17 and have liked it ever since, even though it’s a little weird…to say the least.  Enjoy!


Yellow Rose

When it snows I get a boner.
Whenever those tornadoes on the news
lay those colonies of mobile
homes to waste
I get a boner.  Drought.  Fruit wizens.
Bushes shrivel.  Lawns
Boner.  Wherever I encounter
the presence or the absence of a woman
or apprehend the field and silhouette
of her smell, when one pronounces
or foliage, or cream, or barge,
or if I dream one does
a boner’s got.  If lightning sizzles in the clouds
above the steeple of
a Catholic cathedral
and the thunderclap batters the bells…
on the bus, overhearing garbled rap
pump out of a
white dude’s iPod
and being able to recognize the rapper
by the beat alone,
or not at all,
but getting a boner.  The way the sun came through
the window prismatized
by smears of grease, bonfiring
the winter afternoon—
shook the memory of snot like glue
on an otherwise beautiful
woman’s lip
loose—how old
are you?
When will anything change,
if ever?
And at what age
do normal men mature?
I wonder this and get a boner…
yet there are still some things
that do not give me a boner:
the level of tranquility
a Jeep of body bags achieves
jostling off along a twisting gravel
bound for home, the bracing red and white
of flags, crisply creased,
handed over.
Faces ceasing to exist
the moment they come into being
while a bomb is blowing up
their neighborhood, people being
shot like dogs
like they’re nothing, nothing slumping
on the ground, nothing blood
is just a pool around.  War
in general, and in particular
the current one.
I am against the current war the most
because while it unfolds, I live
and love,
I suppose.  But who could possibly care
what I have to say about this war?
I could say anything here,
it wouldn’t matter.  I could say,
“I am Motortrend Car of the Year.”
“You are the yellow rose
corkscrewing out of the slippery rocks
that gird the river of black water.”
“I have seen a thousand moons
wax and wane to completion
since we last touched.”

—Mark Leidner, The Iowa Review (Volume 39, Number 1: Spring 2009)


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