Saturday, July 5, 2014

Two Poems by Ginger Teppner

Eulogy for Virginia C.

In The Desert

My nose is the wrong shape
Of this I am very aware and barefoot
But my pant legs are wide and flowy
And the flower print makes me feel demure
Less salty
More crimson than flying

A Dog Barks
Chained to a metal stake
In the back yard, another back yard
With a traditional dog house and Lilac bushes
And a clothesline
All the less stained sheets
Hung to face the neighbor’s house
                        Snapping in a distant breeze
That carries
                        Away from ancient windows
Ancient mist or air

 I Want to Be a Bird

So I marry a pilot
And his nose in the wrong shape
And his words in the wrong color
But he laughs when I hold my cigarette
He appreciates my strong fingers
Like an aura to describe prophets face
How I bake the hard boiled eggs into the lasagna

How when he smashes the plate of spaghetti
Into the white washed kitchen wall
My first thought is that mashed potatoes
Make less of a racket

That Day
                        You hummed and traced raindrops
Sucked backward in slow motion
Along the edge of the car window

Less Lonely

                        I was relieved when he left me.
It was a relief to be alone.
In early March I watched my disappointment
Walk out the side door. The door that opened to the garage
Do you remember this garage?
The smells of car
A red three wheeled trike
Metal rakes hanging in a row
You, a child with a kitten all smiles and pigtails
Criss-cross applesauce
                        Let’s go for a ride you say
                        In the big car you say
The neighbor boy pedals away
On his miniature green tractor

I Remember
                        How she took my hand,
                        Not gently as if to say the world is harder
For a woman. Especially the handsome kind
The kind with stronger spine
Sometimes the efficiency of woman
Is to blame. Some women just don’t need
As much. And there is only so much
Pretending to be other than

                        Like when he runs down the dock
                        To be attacked by a bee. Watch
As he runs clear off the end of the dock
There are so few real surprises
I suppose this was the hook
And they thought they were being cute
When they threw the blanket over our heads,
But I have the scars to prove
And the blanket smelled like outside rain,
And I never went back in the water after that
Already turning away. Weak with ankles


My husband secures shade cloth to the top of the arbor.
I have been hounding him for weeks.
Tender shoots below need relief from the direct Florida sun.
He is using the utility rack on the back of his truck as a scaffold.
From my bedroom window I can only see his legs dressed in muck boots, the one’s I bought him for Christmas, and camo shorts.
This is his uniform.
His blue Guy Harvey t-shirt, the cap on his head, and his unshaven face are not in my field of vision.
I hear him singing to himself, talking out loud to his dog, rummaging in the tool box for something he can’t find.
I hear him climb off of the scaffold on to the ladder.
I hear him lose his balance, his quick recovery.
I hear his footsteps come around the East side of the house.
I hear him enter through the kitchen door.
From one room he says he is looking for scissors.
From another I tell him they are on the counter.
I imagine all of these movements and sounds and objects in my mind’s eye.
I name them all—translate them onto this page so that I can recognize them later.
But my truth is slanted.
Opinion inhabits every word—husband and arbor and tool and blue and kitchen and east.
Windows and trucks and shade lack neutrality.
Even as I write, this experience slips into the past.
I am filled with prestolgia—the knowledge that in the future I will long for an April moon.
But this is only an idea I can’t wake up from.

Ginger Teppner received her BA in Cultural Studies from Empire State College and her MFA in Creative Writing from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of Naropa University. Recent publications include Upstairs at Duroc , Shambhala Times, Not enough Night, and Semicolon. 

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