The tubas are full of fog and fallen thoroughbreds.
There are no dogs near the dentist’s office
due to the pitch of the drills. A poem
is meant to replace what the olfactory erased.
But it always comes out like a Gilbert-without-
In the birdbath my reflection sprains
with each plop of rain. We don’t find it odd
that mule saddles are made from cows?
But the moorhen is two birds killed
with one act of kindness.
Above all, the clouds are like tennis skirts,
fenceposts dark where dogs piss their names.
Her mouth a doily-gagged coal hole. No squawk
as my palm kowtows her gullet to the block,
her hind high for our singsong.
Now, if I tap-test the mic, and tell you all,
I’ll know the cassettes of our joy are socked away
in the secret drawers of my boudoir. O you
can’t tell someone just how lonely he is,
but a moorhen sure can.
Here’s Chris Hutchinson on Dodds’ poem:
I love how this poem goofs with our expectations. “The tubas are full of fog” is not atypical as far as poetic images go, and I can easily imagine these tubas in terms of foghorns or breath on a cold day. But then, after smoothly crossing the alliterative passage “full of fog and fallen,” we arrive at “thoroughbreds,” the opening line’s terminus. In an instant the image has slipped from the comfortably figurative into the surreally far-out.
Read the entire How Poems Work over at Lemon Hound. And save the date for Jeramy Dodds who reads with Don McKay on October 7, 2pm MB 2.130, 1440 rue Guy.