Carol Frome

Bloom’s Taxonomy Meets Take My Word for It

I break the happy news–
the editor likes my work,
and my boss quizzes:
Is the publication peer reviewed?
Does it pay money?

For those outside po-world,
it’s hard, I admit,
to navigate the dragon smoke of po-bizz.
I have to think. Her face indicates
that my thinking means no.
Nevertheless, I think on:

Does the work affirm
I have read those who came before me?
I have not thought about it!
So I wonder,
can the reader see clearly
the bedrock of Whitman?
Do the voices
of Neruda, Rilke, Shakespeare,
or Jackson, Lee or Dickinson
leap the caesuras
and call through the stanzas?
I can’t be sure.

Also, would a reasonable reader believe
that the author is well-acquainted
with the subject’s facts, terms,
basic concepts and answers?
Look there, for example–
the sun burning a hole in the sky–
is that really adequate
to describe global warming?
So much depends,
you must know,
upon a glaze of water,
the apparition of snow.

Also, is the methodology rigorous?
This the poems answer with ease:
Living is, they confirm, rigorous.
You should not, however, take my word for it.
Just look at all those dead poet bodies
floating down Imagination River,
each one–yes, indeed
in a full state of distinguished rigor.

And what is new about the work
or is it just the same old blah blah
dressed up, fresh as a daisy?
Finally, what is the practical end
of the arduous and exacting research?

Not money. Take my word for it.

My boss is thinking too.
She’s thinking,
from what foul rag and bone shop
does this impostor come?
I can see it in her eyes,
so full of capable negativity.

All I Know

Some were angry, but what could I do,
my pen a misguided missile,
me, its hapless contrail?

They thought me foolish.
She’s damaged, the doomed
broken o-ring,
cracked beyond saving.
Even I thought me lost.
Still, I followed the pen
not thinking twice and never thinking
from whence the pen?

I was a child. I knew my pen
as a kite string, only,
tugging my hand
into a soft day,
toward a soft space,
my eye always on the kite,
and before I knew it, I was
standing on the long dotted line,
I was watching the kite
the dark pavement beneath me,
a dark truck cracking the bend.

Double Down

When anxiety doubles down
on its rough and tumble
in the glade
between my shoulders
and the space
between my skull
and my scalp
its nimble jumps
jolt my backbone
until my lightheaded hands
want to sit down,
to screw my head around twice
and put it between my knees
to wring me out
and tie me in knots
to dive into my pockets
to be still and still everything.
So I do my job well
do a kindness
eat a nice lunch
lose my temper
among my ribs
where it curls
into a new knot
swallowed whole into the hollows
behind my still beating heart.
As always, then, I write
what I ate
eat what I wrote.

Carol Frome’s poetry has appeared in many literary magazines and journals, including Nimrod, Colorado Review, Northwest Review, The Stockholm Review of Literature, and Southern Poetry Review, among others. She is also a recipient of a Discovery/The Nation Award. Her poetry collection, Lives & Mortalities, is forthcoming next year from WordTech Communications’ Contemporary Words imprint.





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