Stumble at the Gate
a horse race isn’t a horse race
you can comprehend the imponderables.
the horse, the jockey, the track,
trainer, the weather, and the post position.
all these and the game is yours,
whole racing world is yours to command.
is, while you think you’re in control,
imponderables ponder on despite you.
best horse stumbles at the gate.
clouds open up wetting your dry horse.
is like a horserace all right. Only it’s the
that are racing. You’re the purse.
the homosexual writer, Lytton Strachey,
up with the virgin painter, Dora Carrington,
created an oddly mismatched couple.
was all sticks and stones; she all fur.
were totally incompatible sexually.
chased boys; she painted but did not show.
was afraid of sex, hid away in her art,
Lytton’s docility brought out her protective nature.
painted his rooms like the Garden of Eden.
biography a new, personal twist.
eventually had a few casual affairs of her own.
she always cared for her Lytton best of all.
she married a returning war veteran,
all three lived together in a cottage in Wiltshire.
painter pursued the writer who rejected her;
writer pursued the soldier who rejected him;
soldier pursued the painter who rejected him.
the surface, they got along swimmingly,
reinforced the other in this queer harmony,
beneath that, they knew it couldn’t last.
died of undiagnosed stomach cancer.
followed taking her own life with a shotgun.
soldier wandered off into the mist between the wars.
on the State
Susan B. Anthony was arrested in 1872
voting and being a woman
crime was only in the combined admission),
was taken from her home on Madison Street
a trolley on West Main by a deputy marshal
be booked at the Central Police Station.
they entered the trolley car,
officer dropped his coins in the box,
Susan refused to open her purse.
explained to the car man.
ride on the State,
when does that excuse the fare?
looked at the car man indifferently.
looked at the deputy indifferently.
looked at them as they took their seats.
else was there to be done?
rides on the State, the
car man grumbled.
by Mosquitoes: July 22, 1944
rainy season is over.
has suddenly gotten very hot.
have no incense or mosquito net.
spent a sleepless night swatting at them.
mosquitoes attacked all night
no mercy for my old body
than the enemy planes.
the Energy to Teach First Grade
Frances Evans got up some mornings
knew she didn’t have the energy to face
class of first graders.
was in her mid-70’s.
death of her youthful husband,
minister, taught her the necessity of work.
were days in 1952,
Doctor Bessie got the call
Mrs. Evans rather early.
6 AM, he had walked down Pawling Avenue
up Maple Street to her apartment.
knew where the key was located and let himself in.
found the bedroom and pushed open the door.
was always facing the wall and never acknowledged him.
lifted the bed sheets and gave her a shot of Vitamin B 12.
she had money to give him, she left it on the bed stand.
don’t know what modern medicine says of this practice,
with B12 Frances Evans summoned the energy
pull up her girdle and march down Maple Street to the school
many of her first grade students reported decades later
she gave them some of the best education they ever received.