John Courtney

Rookie - 116 Points (05-22-1982 / Philadelphia)

I Am Convinced - Poem by John Courtney

The peace below my feet is the country:
not here, where desperate pianos come
to play street corner girls in the captive
audience of pawn shop study, a melody helpless
since breastmilk, forever confused by the bedspring
music of God-in-laws who breed to satisfy the fields
with contracts, who take dues from the cold back-
pockets of weather to seed bastard heroes so they
can eat the real ones, chewing with smiles open,
cigar plumes from painted teeth choking birds sunless
under golf course moons so that the sky can't
carry its eyes any further, so that mothers can't
cope in the ever-decreasing distance between
shimmering gold and burning crops.

Not here, where for security men fasten their names
to the planet's feeding schedule, where they load
my head with female bodies removed from various
periods of Berlin, a museum of angels and devils
that share flight in the clinking glasses of manhood,
where we fight on targeted soil, the single body of us
on fire next to a lady who takes long drags of the war,
not a single tongue of flame able to extinguish her
nor the storms of beauty as they lean in pinkly
selling miracles and offering no forecast of pain.

They're all the same girl: a lust sculpted
by the mind of man against its jagged shores,
memory coarsely ground into bowls of light,
easy shipment for offspring who plunge straws
into the chocolate syrup of the Ohio River after
destruction and throughout time, the lipstick suns
that climb over a tired fool who writes poetry
with one hand and paddles the azure lid with
the other, the seldom connection of marching
wisdom lucked into good direction to kick open
the vault of animals, where the view from a
trafficless bridge is to watch her being built,
a dope-fixed piano to play out the night,
street corners staring into fiction:
women who stare through men.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, July 8, 2013

Poem Edited: Monday, July 8, 2013

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