Poems by Robert A. Davies
Talking Earth Anthology: Four poems from Sometimes Subversive by Robert A. Davies. Now in his 80s, Robert Davies maintains the perpetually fresh approach to his work of the true artist. His five collections of poetry have ranged from poems about his acre of land in the tiny forest town of Timber to poems about caring for AIDS patients, war, and urban inequalities. In his latest book, Sometimes Subversive, published in 2009, he casts a wise eye on the society around him and on the most essential people and events of his own life.
We are watching a situation comedy.
They are laughing like crazy
but I don't get it
my mother, age 96, doesn't get it
my grandmother, age 126.
I'm not dead but
both of them are dead
and so are those laughing:
their laughter in the '30s and '40s
recorded and of course killed
is played again and again,
canned laughter like the canned salmon
they ate in their time
when they listened on the radio
to Jack Benny and Fred Allen
or watched, some of them,
Milton Berle dressed as a woman
Lucille Ball wringing her face.
I'm going to tell you a secret:
the dead ones are laughing still
they are laughing at us:
crazy crazy crazy
they're all on prozac
something funny is happening to America.
The comedian looks us straight in the eyes:
“This horse comes up to the bar
the bartender says,
Why the long face?”
The studio audience groans Ohhhh.
The comedian rips open his shirt
takes out a pistol, shoots
wounding and killing the humorless bastards.
And back in the family rooms
of the little castles of America
loud laughter breaks from the TV
and the bits and pieces of families laugh too.
And then the magical car is revealed
as a soft voice says, “You are what you drive,”
and the scattered members of each family
say OO oo oo that’s true
I didn’t find hostile Indians
absence of supermarkets or Thanksgiving
but for thirty years I’ve been haunted.
by an encounter at Timber:
treed by my dog
it sat like a Cheshire cat
myself just below
mewing as if to a house cat
and being responded to
this cougar and I conversing
and ever since
I imagine, dream, suspect
of meeting once again.
Down the trail he follows.
I hold up my stick to look bigger
but he follows like a cat or dog
remembers me, my friend.
He tears into my neck
death operatically slow:
I forgive him at length
and he stays, loyal to his friend.
I mistake old dog tracks
for cougar and wonder Is it watching.
Always he waits
always an evergreen forest
a jump behind or ahead.
THE LOVER’S RESPONSE
Love was invented in the 12th Century, I know.
There you were!
with Lively’s secretary, Missy Summertop.
It was love at first sight.
Lust on my part, you say.
I’ve had lots of that
and you changed my whole life!
What about your part if not love?
Companions in strife.
That’s not how I remember it
our sexy experiments
well, frequent disagreements
we were seldom bored.
Bored nearly to tears!
50 years together
to say we haven’t gotten along.
Lamb chops tonight? Oh!
Just for me.
Robert A. Davies email@example.com