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Three poems

"A Page from the Apocrypha," "She Waits," and "Alone"

Adam and Eve, wailing and ashamed
Adam and Eve, wailing and ashamed

A Page from the Apocrypha

  • So God throws Adam and Eve out of paradise
  • but they don’t slink away wailing and ashamed
  • like the characters in Italian frescoes.
  • Instead, Adam turns and says, “Ah, You big lug.
  • I’ve been 86ed from a lot better places than
  • this king-sized salad bar.”
  • Eve starts to laugh, something she’s never
  • done before since there’s nothing funny
  • about perfection.
  • Adam winks at her and laughs, too.
  • His hand smoothes her hair. Hers touches
  • his chest. All of a sudden they’re kissing
  • and looking for a place to lie down.
  • It’s chilly, the ground is brambly and damp,
  • but they don’t care. They’re in love.
  • Not the God-kind, all infinite numbers and
  • tranquility. But the human-kind, perilous
  • and messy, the kind that makes you want
  • to live forever.

She Waits

  • for her husband, the charcoal peddler,
  • to pack his cart and leave.
  • She washes away his good-bye caresses,
  • perfumes her thighs and sets off.
  • Her lover has a house by the river. He is young,
  • vigorous and wealthy.
  • Every passion has its limits. He lies
  • on a bamboo mat with his back to her.
  • She knows the poem he is writing. It is about
  • crickets, wild geese, rain, a dying lamp.
  • It is like his other poems as she is like other
  • girls, soaked through by the first bend in the road.

Alone

  • Maybe it’s just the kind of poetry I’ve been reading,
  • but I can’t help noticing how alone most poets are:
  • alone in a room, of course, furnished with only
  • a picture of Virginia Woolf. Alone in Paris or Corfu,
  • alone by a famous grave in an equally famous mist.
  • Do I have to say alone in a crowd? And, to update
  • the image, all alone by the iPhone. Oh, let’s not
  • forget the sea.
  • Those solitary walks on the beach. The moon-blanched
  • land and the way the body of Matthew Arnold always
  • washes up at the poet’s bare feet.
  • I could compile an anthology of poems about being
  • alone. Now that I think of it, Being Alone might be
  • a wonderful title.
  • It would be fun to write to all the poets and get
  • permission to use their work. Even more fun
  • to have a big party and hammer out the details.
  • Let’s see – I’d need a lot of alcohol and a ton
  • of things to eat. Clean sheets for the spare bedrooms
  • for sure because you know how poets are:
  • when they get together, they can’t keep their hands
  • off each other.

A fixture in the Los Angeles poetry scene for decades, Ron Koertge has written his latest book, Vampire Planet, for Red Hen Press. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry  and too many anthologies to mention. Billy Collins calls Ron “the wisest, most entertaining wise guy in American poetry.” He tries hard to live up to those lofty standards.

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Adam and Eve, wailing and ashamed
Adam and Eve, wailing and ashamed

A Page from the Apocrypha

  • So God throws Adam and Eve out of paradise
  • but they don’t slink away wailing and ashamed
  • like the characters in Italian frescoes.
  • Instead, Adam turns and says, “Ah, You big lug.
  • I’ve been 86ed from a lot better places than
  • this king-sized salad bar.”
  • Eve starts to laugh, something she’s never
  • done before since there’s nothing funny
  • about perfection.
  • Adam winks at her and laughs, too.
  • His hand smoothes her hair. Hers touches
  • his chest. All of a sudden they’re kissing
  • and looking for a place to lie down.
  • It’s chilly, the ground is brambly and damp,
  • but they don’t care. They’re in love.
  • Not the God-kind, all infinite numbers and
  • tranquility. But the human-kind, perilous
  • and messy, the kind that makes you want
  • to live forever.

She Waits

  • for her husband, the charcoal peddler,
  • to pack his cart and leave.
  • She washes away his good-bye caresses,
  • perfumes her thighs and sets off.
  • Her lover has a house by the river. He is young,
  • vigorous and wealthy.
  • Every passion has its limits. He lies
  • on a bamboo mat with his back to her.
  • She knows the poem he is writing. It is about
  • crickets, wild geese, rain, a dying lamp.
  • It is like his other poems as she is like other
  • girls, soaked through by the first bend in the road.

Alone

  • Maybe it’s just the kind of poetry I’ve been reading,
  • but I can’t help noticing how alone most poets are:
  • alone in a room, of course, furnished with only
  • a picture of Virginia Woolf. Alone in Paris or Corfu,
  • alone by a famous grave in an equally famous mist.
  • Do I have to say alone in a crowd? And, to update
  • the image, all alone by the iPhone. Oh, let’s not
  • forget the sea.
  • Those solitary walks on the beach. The moon-blanched
  • land and the way the body of Matthew Arnold always
  • washes up at the poet’s bare feet.
  • I could compile an anthology of poems about being
  • alone. Now that I think of it, Being Alone might be
  • a wonderful title.
  • It would be fun to write to all the poets and get
  • permission to use their work. Even more fun
  • to have a big party and hammer out the details.
  • Let’s see – I’d need a lot of alcohol and a ton
  • of things to eat. Clean sheets for the spare bedrooms
  • for sure because you know how poets are:
  • when they get together, they can’t keep their hands
  • off each other.

A fixture in the Los Angeles poetry scene for decades, Ron Koertge has written his latest book, Vampire Planet, for Red Hen Press. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry  and too many anthologies to mention. Billy Collins calls Ron “the wisest, most entertaining wise guy in American poetry.” He tries hard to live up to those lofty standards.

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