Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Old Poem: Baking a Cake on the Kitchen Floor

I'm actually going to include a couple of lines from the facing poem "Cherry in the Church," which is about a bomb going off in a church.  It wasn't specifically about the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, AL (subject of Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls), but any generic bombing of a church or synagogue (if such a thing could be said to exist).  Most of the poem tries to be too clever and indulges in (inappropriate) word play, but I still like the last two lines: "the glass remembers it once was sand / starts sprinkling down."

"Baking a Cake" was inspired by a family story.  My mother told me that she found me mixing eggs and milk on the floor with a big wooden spoon (presumably before I was 5 or 6).  When she asked me what I was doing, I said I was baking a cake.  History does not recall whether she found this so funny she held off from punishing me.  The poem is fairly straight-forward, though the ants may have been a nod to the magic realism I had been reading at the time -- or Salvador Dalí, an artist of interest to me at the time, and I even had the poster of the Metamorphosis of Narcissus on my dorm-room wall. (It may be worth noting Mark Helprin's Memoir from Ant-proof Case hadn't even come out at this point, and it happens I am one of those readers immune to its charms, as is this reviewer.)  But I think the poem works well in conjunction with the artwork, as seen below.

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