Poet Laureate Joan Logghe
reading "April in Santa"
at the April 13, 2011
City Council meeting
This is the city for poets. You’d think, Paris,
but I say here, just inside the library door
where magazines wait to be recycled into new
hands, where in the stacks the poets snuggle up
against one another, paperback by hard
cover, living by dead, they hum between
themselves, they speak in a frequency
heard only by readers.
And on the Plaza the poems wait
to be written down. They are suspended
in the air, a hacky sack flying from foot
to foot, a man looking down from a balcony,
a cash register tallying up the tax on a strand
of jewelry, liquid silver and jet. And the paintings
on the walls of the museums, or sculpture in gardens
just words away from saved and savored.
How this city is held afloat by art astounds
my lovely Wisconsin relatives held intact by
milk and road repair. They are driving off
with turquoise stud earrings for the grand daughters.
The birds bank and cycle above their rented car
and I am left here, my pen filled with ink
to immortalize which means don’t let this moment die.
City of poems, City of poets,
archiving the spring air, tracing the holy
pollen count which after all makes sacred seed of tree.
The birdsong of Thursday, the vibrations left in the
wake of artists who gather like iron filings
around this magnet of place. The ticket holders, the tourists,
the local girl who never went to a museum
before and now, skipping through bird and tulip,
it’s her poem.
A little no capital letters e.e. cummings of a boy,
a large fat-lady-singing of a woman and this Opera is not over,
It keeps singing Spring, spring, spring and in Sena Plaza
the waiters can’t help but burst Broadway
over the crowns of poppy waiting for their clock
of scarlet to tick open. On the Plaza my friend Sunny
selling glass earrings and barrettes. Have you noticed,
I mean how can you help but notice?
How many generations of souls from Santo Domingo
or Santa Clara, sat under the portal through years and winters
for the arrival of April, in this holy city where April
is never cruel, though windy and more than deep.
Saint Francis making us all into instruments of His Peace.
Poets accumulate to jot down the aha of place,
the jolt of jonquil, white bark of aspen, nuance
of sunset on the Cathedral.
Any place can be Paris, my old teacher said.
And in the library, I check out books, the delicate
arm of the librarian tattooed with apple blossoms.
Joan Logghe © 2011