Day 13 brings us two poems from Oregon poet, John Morrison. The first, “Black Bead,” comes from his first full-length collection, Heaven of the Moment (© 2007, Fairweather Books); the second, “Your Dark,” is a new piece he graciously shared with us.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE POEMS
“Black Bead,” like Bruce Weigl’s poem, “Eddy,” takes us through the unspoken tenderness that exists between men. Here the narrator recaps an instance where his father relies on the tools he knows in order to relieve his son’s pain. “Your Dark,” meanwhile, harkens back to Peter Sears’ poem from Day 1, “We Can Help Each Other.” John addresses the questions posed in the other poem, and pushes readers forward into new considerations.
Hunched like a grey bear over
my ten-year-old hand, my father spun
in his knobby fingers a drill bit
thin as a toothpick on my bruised thumbnail.
In the solitary game where I slammed
grey rock against grey rock, the rock
all our dry acre had in abundance,
I missed on my way to open the color
inside: sunrise, ochre, rust, willow green.
Under my thumb’s clear, fine shell
a thundercloud appeared in the pink sky,
a cloud that brooded, brooded but wouldn’t
rain, only throbbed darker. He never
offered what he knew, not the science
of winds, not constellations, not the curve
of the earth, but he would go quiet, lean in,
and try to fix anything. Clumsy about gentleness,
silver flashed in his hand. He whispered,
How brave you are, as he churned, then coaxed
out the pinhole a first bead of black blood.
with a nod to Peter Sears
Is your dark never silky
like old port or soft as the underside
of a calendula petal with your eyes
closed, but is your dark more like a knobby
patch of summer tar mounded in
a pothole, the same tar the dumb
kid would twist off in a wad
to chew like Black Jack gum? I mean,
without any of the warm light
in that memory, just the oily,
shiny, black and sticky, a syrup
down your throat and nose, in ears
and eyes until you’re full
or swallowed or is your dark
more like mine, a black gravel
with a few, flickering grey
pebbles sifted in, all in
motion like a slow storm, a fine
emery cloth on your skin, a grim
spa, rejuvenating, yes, but no doubt
grinding me down.
A Poet a Day is a month-long celebration of poets and poetry, in honor of National Poetry Month. Writers reserve all rights to their work, and all work appears with their permission.