Sunday, March 9, 2014

#120: Three Poems by Lynne Thompson

~This poem was previously published in ArtLife  (2005).

A Famble
If you listen, you will find me
between tomorrow
and a dream-hole.
I’ve heard all about you:

your devil-shine, your heart-
spoon and your farbuden
and I’m waiting for you
in the darkened flesh-spade

where farlies flurch on a copesmate
just beyond the smoors.
I’m waiting for you to remove
my frample & muddle, my murlimews
& pulpatoons.  Look, I’m no paranymph

and this is no beautrap
but I know a gandermooner when I see one!
Relax your half-marrow
and turn your countenance to the twatterlight.

I am framp on this light-bed—frike-lusty
for your mally-brinch.  Come here
my belly-friend, my lusty-gallant, let’s
brustle and fream, let’s ablude our fleshment
on this sweet care-cloth.


~This poem was previously published inPloughshares (2010-11).

The Mollusk Museum


is and is not
a velveteen pillow


a dinner hour mistake
with candied yams on the side

a box at the bottom of

flightless penguins
hitchhiking through town

footprints in a cemetery



two moon pies per gypsy

greedy art and dirigible need

rushes and reeds
tracing paper on papyrus

the solo, the ensemble

wood ticks
wax moths

hand-drum, thrum-
thrumming the hand

a river, a poplar
the same old questions



I come to struggle,

                               to eat the edges of;

to abrade the chemical
& the alchemical

in the falling night, always
a souvenir wrapped in a rigmarole;
Vivaldi versus Jay-Z.

I’m rapt in biblical passages but never
            in any Book of Revelations or
                        Koran or Green Hornet.

All is taboo.  Every day like any other
habit.  A telegram never opened.


~This poem was previously published in Runes (2007).

An untamed[1] rebel resists[2] Octavio Armand’s[3]
poem[4] Soneto[5] consisting[6] of fourteen[7] lines[8]
each[9] asserting[10] yo[11] soy[12] un hombre[13] sincero[14]

[Editor's note: Please scroll to the bottom of the screen to read the footnotes] 

            A Famble:  This poem was the direct result of a workshop assignment by the poet, Richard Garcia.  He gave the participants a lengthy list of 16th or 17th century English words no longer in popular use.  He asked us to refrain from looking up the meaning of the words but to select some of them and use them based on the meaning that could be gleaned from their sound or look on the page.  It’s pretty clear, I think, which words I selected and the ultimate meaning of the poem relies solely on context and sound.
            The Mollusk Museum:  This poem wanted to avoid the linear and the conventional in trying to describe the modern American family.  It wanted to tackle the concepts that make and fail to make up that institution.  In the end, I couldn’t resist inserting Jay-Z and the Green Hornet and the Koran—all of which have had an inescapable influence in some way on the American family don’t you think?
            An untamed rebel resists, etc.:  I was preparing for a workshop on translation and reading Octavio Armand’s poem “Soneto” in the wonderful anthology Twentieth Century Latin American Poetry (ed. Stephen Tapscott).  Armand’s sonnet repeats the line “yo so un hombre sincero” fourteen times and takes on its own meaning with this repetition, however, I was wondering if a translation couldn’t imbue new meaning in a fresh way, particularly from a feminine point of view and this “untamed rebel” was the result.



Lynne Thompson’s latest collection, Start With A Small Guitar, was published by What Books Press in October, 2013.   Her first collection, Beg No Pardon, won the Perugia Press Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writer Award.  Her poems have been widely published in literary journals including Ploughshares, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Crab Orchard Review and is forthcoming in the African American Review and Prairie Schooner.  Thompson is Reviews & Essays Editor of the California-based poetry journal, Spillway.

[1] Since the dawn of tadpoles in the bog//before
[2] the gleam radiated from your mother’s eye//
[3] somewhere between hone and honey and he never knew what hit him//
[4] is everything that makes the orb revolve//
[5] is everything everything has evolved from—//
[6] singularity—//
[7] something more than individuality//
[8] which is nothing less than a woman//
[9] who is nothing if not true//
[10] the mirror reflection of//
[11] everything that is the inverse of woman//
[12] (she who is the ante meridian, una mujer, woman)//
[13] a synonym, perhaps, for a man by any other name//
[14] and that’s been true since the dawn of tadpoles, honey.

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