Sharon Mesmer


Propolis and Myrrh
              for Joanna Fuhrman

Instead of finishing those onerous chores,
grab ahold of the pulley
and slide along the line
that runs the length of the rainforest.
Going too high isn't the problem,
losing your grip is,
but believe me that's exactly what you want to happen.
You won't see it that way right away
but that's okay,
because look who wants you to believe they've lost their grip:
that girl with all the money and plastic surgery
writing poetry.
Now that's irony.
But irony is just poor man's nostalgia for nostalgia,
God waiting for the rave-up to end.
And that's why God loves to hate.
That's why God loves our tears.
That's why a svelte, dutiful, piano-playing bookwoman
suddenly feels compelled to drink battery acid cut with aspirin
from a Blue Willow cup.
That's God tearing up the scenery,
blowing the ghosts of his own ego
into the mean, misshapen boy-men who run the rides at the Back-of-the-Yards
carnival, on the spot where the runoff from the slaughter houses used to go.
The meanest of God's egos looks like a butcher,
but is in reality a moist emulsion of waxing moon,
so don't even think of applying for that job,
you Pharisees who would crucify Christ again.
God is too busy exuding irony from his kinky cute alluvial boots
to do what you want him to do.
The song of his sea is merely the song of a harbor of memory,
and how well he knows our only response is to feel sorry.
So lonely is his ocean, subdued by cheap beads,
so lonely his magical birdbath that makes moths hatch.
The true blue mountains of his sky,
the green moons of his sea,
will never suffer long for beauty.
There's a bird whose song sounds like the ting of the fence
when the Feeney kids used to jump on it.
I tried hard to listen
but I got bitten
by God's atrocious irony:
for a moment I thought the whole world could hear him laughing at me.
It had long been my dream to set my mother up in her own apartment
decorated with stuff from the Lillian Vernon catalogue.
I'd sit on the floor at her feet again, picking her knee scabs,
and she'd eat Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee spaghetti,
and I'd never ever buy another tube of Tom's of Maine Natural Antiplaque
Baking Soda Toothpaste again.
But black bile take the night, God had another idea.
His unction hit like a brick,
and suddenly the weak, bony knees I'd kept hidden for centuries
became consumer luxuries
only the strongest among us could afford.
You know what God told me when I said I'd woken up with all the features of a hangover except the headache?
He said, "Yeah, well, I woke up with all the features of a moose except the antlers."
Then he went and messed up my toilet.
His shit hung like stalactites
on the morning of the Transportation Bond Act.

God is a fluid Oz
created by a Bethesda, Maryland housewife who suffered for years from milk-leg.
A single strand of his long blond hair hangs in the spotlight
of the stage upon which is reenacted the crash and burn of childhood's Hindenburg.
His love is the wind that blows through the plate glass of Paris.
Your love is what allows him to give good squished arm.
At this point you may need to ask yourself:
Am I being lead down the primrose path toward someone else's Alps?
Someone else's Alpo?

Do you even know the difference between "Alps" and "Alpo"?
Honestly, I don't think so.
But I know — and now you do, too —
that among the rocks and ruins of purpose-centered education
rises a house that seems to smile at every SUV in proximity.
Suddenly, all you want is to get in.
It's not open, but you can get in
with the key that opened your fifth grade diary.
You thought you'd lost it, but just look in your pocket:
God made a secret deposit.
Settle in, and watch a tv program where white stallions
dance and prance like a Mexican cotillion.
There's plenty friendship chicken and Tylenol PM
and no more onerous chores.
So don’t worry if you can't feel your hands
to open the door.
All you need do is let go
and let God
and never feel anything


As In Dreams of Trains
              a sonnet after Pura Lopez-Colomé

You held onto your orange in Herald Square
Under the Magikist sign that used to be there.
You were offering sweetness to the future,
And to the memory of one old summer.
You knew you'd soon let go the thread,
But did you know you'd soon be dead
And I'd be offering sweetness instead?

It's the eye that sends the prayer
Out to flesh then into air
To be carried upon water
With a certain languor
Like a scattering of bread.
To follow its course is to be lead
Without walking but with waking instead.