When grandmother came to live with us,
mother told me once, she brought
but one small suitcase, all her adult life
having inhabited one guest room at the hotel
she had owned, that granny liked to add
how confined space allowed for certain
freedoms to emerge, not to own or be
submerged in many accessories, shoes,
I recall still her elegance
of dress, how always her face and hands
sparkled with cleanliness.
a most contrary man, fitted his possessions
into twin containers: a worn brown valise
and shiny shaving bag to join our rowdy band:
visitors all traversing then a green and fertile land.
Just To Say
At work in the 1980s under Reagan just as
the laws began to change, my boss at John
Jay College, where I adjuncted for a wage,
aired a long preamble of apology before
seeking for review my squat blue Green card.
Today, I hear it reported on the morning news
that America is full, that soon the dancing feet
of Inwood and Central Park will be squeezed
like Grey Poupon through narrow gaps carved
into our President’s magnificent border wall.
I was born under the astral sign of Scorpio,
Tall, and simply complicated, some dish
A man has unkindly said of me.
Is hollow now, blue walls bruised,
Men with wire in train hang packs
And hatchets high above the tree line,
Their outlines, their tracks are whisks of bone.
In my tote I ferry raspberries and oranges,
Tofu, and a bottle of champagne.
Will you join me down at the beach?
We do not have to discourse or pretend:
Let’s watch and laugh a little while.
Babe, there’s nothing to prove, nothing to gain.
Hawk, Kyger, Bolinas
It is true that there is power with us. But I am so improperly trained.
A hawk descends to my shoulder blade
Furthermore, it’s Friday.
First, I pledge to set my kitchen to order
For glory be
From a copse deer converge at evensong
I boil water for tea.
My books are to their subjects ordered
On the gray sofa
The throw is loosely held and flown like
Light falling westward
Like rainwater from a laden pail Kyoto
Like my lover’s kisses
Like loose chatter cull at the commissary.
Hawk, I seek a line
Or honeycomb to nail fine stitches down
But unbidden as
Mad felines lyrics push through brambles,
Gathering with fauns
Rippling the flat surface that I seek to carve
Reggae, I am scattered
And employed. First, set kitchen to order.
All frivolous tasks avoid.
A hawk descended to my shoulder blade:
Wise. Eager to advise.
On the lady’s arm
Falls on the wall
Of her living room
As water dropping down a weir
Falls on the woman’s silken dress
And to her neck
Falls and falls again
As if light and time
And space were shapes unchecked
Falling as we fail
And fall again
Falls on the maid’s face
In light of life and revelation
Falls on mirrors
On letters drawn
Like blue lobelia sunward
A woman performing
On a lute
To the window
For a chord.
Toward fired globes
& captured territories
All into alignment
Rowan Oak Glosses: Oxford, Mississippi
It is late morning in Oxford
cedar and oak as August casts a fiery glaze
across this spooned-out parking lot.
we absorb fragrances inhaled and sold:
I grew-up drab decades following
our own Civil War.
suffocate and spin as late morning we stroll
arm-in-arm the Rowan Oak of Wm. Faulkner.
of ladies’ airs, today’s Rowan Oak’s
a dusty death trap.
Colonel Robert Sheegog
a Scotch-Irish planter from Tennessee,
an immigrant like me, raised this home
from Princess Hoka’s Chickasaw trail of tears.
visiting from Missouri, I inscribe my mark
in the visitors’ book though my heart leans
toward the interstate ahead, and lunch.
Eamonn Wall’s recent publications include From Oven Lane to Sun Prairie: In Search of Irish America (Arlen House, 2019) and Junction City: New and Selected Poems 1990-2015 (Salmon Poetry, 2015). A native of Co. Wexford, he has lived in the USA since 1982—currently in St. Louis, Missouri.