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Three Poems
Distant parade drums and bugles

came as insect sounds
bird sounds
were the general vowel

Easy to reconstruct
a parade
                          harder to perform
mouth-to-mouth on reason

There were moving pictures of limbs

We ordered more all around
bought lottery
                          Nights were too you
the TV loud all jet screaming
sharp chalk        The neighborhood
got in our dreams
                                       not sure
about logic   He was bad
so we killed his people

Crossing a bridge on a bicycle
you feel luckiest
                                       in America

The parade down Wall
distant sirens came as sirens

We held our eyes
our ears          our mouths.


Just so much fat to live off

the aria begins
                        just so much
sap indulged in the roots

a few acorns forgotten
under the national soot

so much wonderland
a can of borscht in the larder

Birdbath closed
                        inside ice
oak leaves suspended
in animation
between chill that harvested
coming heat that disassembles

When freights rumbled plenty
northward to need        water
for birds trembled
           in standing circular waves

Suntan Man was oiled
to the waist       our own Picasso
look-alike          corner agency
for tomorrows
                        His were always
           darker toward nightfall

Now sky is late Vlaminck
He’s not under it

Where does he winter
Is it at the Honor Court Hotel
with the adjudicated
                                    changing lives
shoveling snow baking turkeys

Maybe under a sunlamp
in a private Florida
keeping his soul tan
believing burning is good.


O dolor

beard mutters walking uphill
itself a beard
                        little tufts
old men can’t see to shave

We go in shade complete
with cold chicken
                                   We say
obvious things tying
together this luxury
devoutly repaid

                        Look at that
little redbud is a down payment
            I hope this isn’t eating
not tough enough

Little Jinny shows up with
picture postcards of this very hill
Such redbuds
                        such shadows
where a small family
can eat in war

                        It’s always been
the beard         the salty sea hiding
beyond the olive grove
                        And now things
point at you for a change

Love fabricates mama and papa
After that it’s etcetera’s bush.

Dennis Finnell’s most recent book is Ruins Assembling, winner of the 2014 Things to Come Poetry Prize from Shape&Nature Press. His 2017 contribution to the Conjunctions online magazine is from his manuscript Where the Eye Leads, the Head Soon Follows. He lives in western Massachusetts.