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A Flower Bursting From
My Head © Dee Rimbaud

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Marge Manwaring is a poet in living in Seattle, where she is also a freelance writer and editor. She teaches poetry in the schools and coedits the online journal, Switched-on Gutenberg. Website

"The trigger for my poem: what I saw while riding in a tow truck. Reflected in the rear window of a car we were tailing were the enormous clouds of that overcast day. It looked like they were actually riding in the backseat of the car, and I couldn't shake that image."

Then, what do you love, extraordinary stranger?
I love the clouds…the clouds that pass…up there…
up there…the wonderful clouds!
—Charles Baudelaire

He drove around in his beatup Pinto all day offering clouds to people, but they mostly refused, saying things like "Clouds? Don't we get enough of them, you loony old man?" Mrs. Eastman the science teacher said, "Of course they couldn't really be clouds, now could they class? After all, did you ever see it raining in Cloud Man's car?" A group of us waited for him to show every Friday out by the junior-high baseball diamond. He'd bring John long cirrus strands to wrap around his neck like a feather boa. Heidi preferred dark and brooding thunderclouds, which she herded up to her attic bedroom to hover over her collection of Gothic novels. I could tell when Cloud Man had gone the extra mile to bring my favorites—the ones shaped like silhouettes of TV stars. He'd pull up grinning and yell, "Got ya some good ones, kid!" One March day I'll never forget, he brought three of them—cumulus, well-hewn, so big he had to bungee the hatchback open. I skipped all the way home hugging my cloud bouquet: Ernest Borgnine, Cher, Ricardo Montalban.

[from Periphery 2004: The Living Landscape]

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This page last updated 2007.11.19