Poem of the Week | May 25, 2015

This week we offer a new poem by Alan Britt. Britt served as judge for the 2013 The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. A new interview for Lake City Lights is available at http://lakecitypoets.com/AlanBritt.html. His latest books include Lost Among the Hours (2015), Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli) (2013), and Alone with the Terrible Universe (2011). He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.
 
Author’s note:

The poem begins one place and ends up another. Such is the nature of poems. Poems can be whatever we want them to be, of course, but most poems are not structured like essays with a thesis to keep things on track. Yet, some intuitive umbilical often serves as a guidance system for poems. So, when “Destitute Pies” begins with a reference to a 3 Musketeers candy bar, entering the brain almost simultaneously are the dashing 3 Musketeers, also known as the Royal Musketeers, or Musketeers of the Guard for the King of France. But below the surface this poem is uneasy and fueled by a desire to defy gravity, otherwise known as linear logic, and, thus, begins its restless shift to an image of a mosquito infested tabernacle. The poem’s then invokes an unanswerable question, which in turn morphs into an image of grasshoppers at a local Farmer’s Market where the poem finally finds a focus for its anxiety that culminates into fruit pies steaming destitute (not unlike how the poem feels) in their metaphorical Confirmation gowns. The concluding image provides the final punctuation necessary to satisfy the restless energy that drives this poem from beginning to end. In this manner, not unlike one of my favorite poems, Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” the poem begins light-heartedly but morphs chameleon-like into something more serious as it evolves.

 

Destitute Pies

 

When you think about it,
you really must give the 3 Musketeers
tons of credit.

 

I mean, all that insane sweetness
in a chocolate sandwich.

 

What? Oh, you thought,
no . . . no . . . the candy bar!

 

Which reminds me
of a tabernacle infested with mosquitoes
just before feral felines
rescued our holy manger from vermin.

 

Which reminds me . . .

 

I’m not fully prepared.

 

Are you?

 

For straw-colored, vermilion-shouldered
grasshoppers to shatter our thoughts
as we loiter
the Farmer’s Market
8 miles southeast of Hampstead, Maryland?

 

Loitering the pies
plump in their Confirmation gowns,
piping steam
from spiced apples,
speckled peaches,
and piles of wild blackberries
snorting just below
the twilight crust
of these destitute pies?

 

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