[Milton-L] A little levity

jonnyangel junkopardner at comcast.net
Thu Feb 26 00:38:59 EST 2009

One of my favorite contemporary poems by one of my favorite contemporary
poets, George Bilgere. (And if you like it, then say so.)

What I Want
by George Bilgere

for my marriage , 1996-2000

I want a good night's sleep.
I want to get up without feeling
That to waken is to plunge through a trap door.

I want to ride my motorcycle
In late spring through the Elysian Fields
Of the Rocky Mountains

And lie once more with Cecelia
In the summer of 1985
On a blanket in the backyard of our house

In Denver and watch the clouds expand.
And it would be great to see my mother
Alive again, at the stove, frying a pan of noodles

Into the peculiar carbonized disc that has never been replicated.
I would like for my ex-wife to get leprosy,
Her beauty falling away in little chunks

To the disgust of everyone in the chic café
Where she exercises her gift
For doing absolutely nothing.

I want world peace.
I want to come home one evening
And find Julia, the new assistant professor

In the history department,
Has let herself into my apartment
For the express purpose of lecturing me

On the history of lingerie.
I don't ask for much: a good merlot.
An afternoon thunderstorm cooling off

The city as I sit listening to Ella
Sing "Spring is Here," so the air goes lyrical
And perhaps a stray bolt of lightening

Strikes my ex-wife as she steps from her car,
Setting her on fire, to the unqualified delight
Of the friends she has come to visit,

Who are thoroughly sick of her self-aggrandizing stories.
I want to spark a bowl of Maui Wowie
And spend the entire afternoon in my dorm room

With Corrine Spellman, trying to remember
What we were talking about, wondering
Whether, in fact, we had had sex yet.

I'd like to sit at the little outdoor restaurant
By the lake in Forest Park, talking with my aunt
In the humid summer twilight, as the hot

St. Louis day expires upon the water
And the moth-eaten Chinese lanterns
Glow like faded Kodachrome.

We would argue about the great tenor voices
Of the century, or causes for the dearth
Of poetry about the Gulf War,

Or why my father drank himself into an elegy
We never stop revising,
While couples on their paddleboats come in

>From the darkening lake, as they've done
Since the beginning of time, and children
Call each other across the shadowy fields.

Yes, that would be nice.
I want a good woman
With a sweet bosom

And a wicked sense of humor.
I want to wake up in London on a spring morning
And read in the paper that my ex-wife

Has received a lethal injection, courtesy of the state
Of Ohio, as part of a citywide program aimed
At improving the civic pride of Cleveland,

But something went terribly wrong
And she's been left in a persistent
Vegetative state

Which everyone agrees
Is nonetheless an improvement.
And it would be wonderful

To sit down with Maria
At our favorite restaurant in Madrid
With some good red wine

And listen to her Spanish
Caress the evening.
I want to read that a new manuscript

Of poetry by James Wright
Has been discovered in someone's attic,
And someone I haven't yet met,

In some future I have yet to despoil
Has bought it for my birthday,
And after the kids are asleep

We sit out in the backyard,
A little drunk, and read it
Aloud to each other,

Something we often do
In summer, before climbing upstairs to the bedroom
In the big old house we love so much.

On 2/25/09 6:14 PM, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ha, thank you.  There's something Eliot about it, almost.  You're
> right about reading it aloud.  These lines...
> How do you do, call on Andrew Marvell and George Herbert
>         to rescue you, but you draw the short straw,
> and there's Julie Andrews in The Sound if Music with her igloo
>         smile and Christmas sweater. You are the Sioux
> in this cavalry charge, and you need some firewater pronto,
>         gin and lighter fluid or a gun, but that's so American,
> and who would you shoot but yourself, so you try to spin some voodoo
>         around this vampire soirée. Where are the chicken bones
> and bat fangs when you need them, Miss Nancy Drew?
> Made me want to pronounce "pronto" "prontoo"...not to mention the
> association of Andrews in The Sound of Music with an "igloo" -- never
> mind that it's really an "igloo smile," I still picture her on the
> north pole.
> Jim R
> On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 3:35 PM, Nancy Charlton <pastorale55 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Around this time of year/ late winter/ point in the term, we all need a
>> little levity, Miltonic or otherwise. This cracked me up, especially when I
>> tried to read it aloud:
>> http://poems.com/poem.php?date=14301
>> Enjoy!
>> Nancy Charlton
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