PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Four poems by Suzanne Parker

The Museum-Goer’s Strategy

Don’t start with the Madonna
dead on the table.
Start with the hours walking
the cool-draped halls
looking for the open window
to show the rain has stopped
and it is time to go out,
away from the grand relay of art,
triptych to French fowl, head limp
on a platter with a lemon,
a glass of white wine. 

Start earlier, the flight
from Newark, plane’s ascension,
nails half moons in Lori’s hand
and before us, always
before us, the idea
stashed deep in a suitcase
like a flesh-colored dildo
or drugs— Hemingway,
Orwell— snuck in as contraband,

and before this, the Hoshi
on my father’s living room wall,
a single tree like a man walking
into a blue, horizontal distance
split into bursts like static
or his bonsais, those
palm-treed islands each
with its own castaway
sunk in the still study
and no one could keep them alive
after his death.

Start sooner with the shock
he spent a summer bullfighting,
learned to plant his feet
and perform the sweeping veronicas
like the opera always playing

in the background, the fierce control,
the huge courage to reach,
stay in place, paint a solitary tree
and I am finally stopped
before Caravaggio’s rejected Mary,
the one too gray, too swollen,
too naked.  The museum asks
in five languages for its patrons
to leave.  Now, it is time to start.

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About the author

Suzanne Parker has recently returned from a month in Paris where ate a lot of croissants and wrote poems about Framingham, Massachusetts. Suzanne was a finalist for the New Rivers Press Book Award in 2008, and her work has recently appeared in A Gathering of the Tribes, The MacGuffin, NYC BigCityLit, Poetry Motel, Rattapallax and others.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

on a wrought iron bench in Bristol by Jamie Donohoe
Ocean Point by Melissa Goodwin
Amaszonas, S.A. by George Guida
Santé by Zoe Karathanasi
Three poems by Athena Kildegaard
Two poems by Jane Kirwan
African Soundscape by Karla Linn Merrifield
Aubade in Transit by Rick Mullin
The Fields of May by James B. Nicola
Igbo Directions in Amsterdam by Uche Ogbuji
High Jumping Silver by Gail Peck
the ground unfurls by Gabrielle Peterson
Two poems by Mike Puican
Byzantium at the Bus Stop; Byzantium at the Mall by Sarah Sadie
Romance by Askold Skalsky
Two poems by Bill Yake

Postcard prose

Before We Let the Hens Out by Emily Avery-Miller
Cheng Man Ch’ing by Douglas Penick

Travel notes

Life Jacket by Margaret McMullan
Hamam by Caroline Swicegood