Christian Langworthy


The Brochure - Poem by Christian Langworthy

(Inspired by 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte')

The movie is not worth the ten dollars
That I had paid, so while it is playing,
I begin thinking of a vacation,
a break from the daily grind. The city
is windy and the sun lathers the buildings
with colloquial warmth as people walk home
from work in the latter stages of blank evening.
'Excuse me, ' I ask. 'I'm not from this city.
Could you tell me where I am and what it is
that I am supposed to do? '
But no one
responds as they hurriedly walk away.
I go down the long footstep of echoes
that is the city until I am back
in my room again, ready to inspect
a copse of red carnations and the picture
of a young woman with lilacs in her hands
while she is kissing someone. Who she is
I will never know and on the table
lies the travel brochure. Nevertheless,
I walk into the garden where red, peach,
and blue butterflies fight against the pelting
rain that has just started.
'So, we will not
go to Coney Island, ' she says— 'Though it
is a light rain and the sun appears less
threatening. We will not stroll on
the boardwalk or watch the amateur people
divvying up the roles of our lives.'
but cotton candy is on my mind for I
have tasted the pink and blue sugar
that has been spun through the years of my tongue
stained with the same food coloring darkening
the tongues of all the short and tall children.
'We will not go to Coney Island, 'I say.
'We will not ride the Cyclone.'
And she asks
me to hold onto her blue tongue and so
I do, naming her 'Lady With Blue Tongue.'

We sleep together of course and sleep a part
all covered up, and she gives birth to many
children who on Sundays stand along
the stretch of river and smoke cigars
while peddling monkeys in little parkas.
Oh, how she hates pointless Mondays.

A vacation is in order for the tired
ones, and we must as always travel
to exotic locales like Timbuktu or
Buenos Aires—but we must know where we are
coming from for that is the beginning
of the vacation. This summer the mosquitoes
understand the shadows as if all the rooms
are empty. The crowds jockey into
position, enamored of the city
of angels, but it is pleasant these days
under the banyan tree when the marimba
band plays, dabbling with greatness, wearing
nothing but figs and delighting the worn
hearts inherently dragged by. She hands me back
my twisted hand, saying, 'Do you recall
the misery of the mall and the Red,
Hot Chili Peppers? ' 'Is it possible
that we can still be friends? '
Even now, my
attention span is short. In her red, faded
dress she looks so attractive that I dump
all of my dim wares into the green river
winding its way through the green-breasted days
of summer comforting our city of angels.

A French couple in front of me talk
about the movie while it is still
nearing its end. It is in Tuscany.
There are fields of gold, and green, sloping
hillsides. A girl is riding a bicycle
down a narrow, winding road. She falls while
making a turn. A young lad happily
carrying a bouncing dead rabbit killed
by his steel trap stops by the roadside to
tend to her. He sets the rabbit down
on the red soil of the road. He is thin
and handsome with dark complexion, and he
helps her to stand up. She says that she is
okay and thanks him. They look into each
other's eyes and then she rides away. Oh,
summer that I have never had! How I
want to be there! On that road of red soil,
surrounded on both sides by red, yellow
and blue flowers. How the insects must sing
in the cool shadows of the road cutting
through the green hillsides and fields of gold!


Poet's Notes about The Poem

Inspired by 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte'

Originally published in Watermark, Temple University Press,1998.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, April 19, 2012


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