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Category archive for: Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Getting to Know You

What is your favorite flower, favorite bird?

I really want you to tell me. If you had twins

what would you name them? Or two goldfish?

How about two cats from the same litter?

Mittens or gloves?

What letter did you most love learning to write

so when you scripted it over and over in your copybook

you tingled with graphic pleasure?

Pick a crayon. What’s the best time of day?

When you play Monopoly,

which little token represents you on the board?

Have a seat. This could take a while.

Cup or mug? Placemats or tablecloth?

Would you rather live in a world where no one cared?

When you were six, what was your favorite song?

It’s sad to forget. Uh huh.

What suit of cards do you prefer? Which fairy tale?

Seashore or mountains? You must choose your horse

on the merry-go-round or you can’t ride—a lesson

of long ago. What were the most comfortable shoes

you ever owned? (Here I could tell a strange story;

let’s just say I have evidence—somewhere

there’s someone who could fill your shoes exactly.)

What do you want for dinner?—speak or starve.

My head hurts too.

As it happens, you’ve stumbled

into my humble democracy.

Here’s your cup of coffee, your violet-blue crayon,

your miniature iron, your hummingbird . . . ,

now, friend (if I may call you friend),

let’s get to work.

from Burning of the Three FiresFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Broken Dolls Day

               (June 3, Japan)

The stitched would never

heal. Nor could the smallest finger

missing of a hand be glued to a pudgy

plastic palm. She lies on her back—bye-bye

It is over. Around her those of the lost

screws, stuck eyes, detached

wires, burnt hair, punctured torso;

brother work, dog work, left out

in the rain. Played out. Over the wood,

wax, plastic, porcelain, papier mâché,

straw, leather, resin & cloth,

the four-foot hunchbacked monk

bows his ancient bald head.

O broken ones, we are

the careless world—forgive us

for we wore you as ourselves.

from Burning of the Three FiresFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

If You Wish to Be Removed from This List

You must be more careful. You must wash your hands up to your elbows and dry them with a linen towel. You must say please. You must swallow your lumpy medicine. You must draw a card and return it to the deck. You must deny deny deny. You must put it in writing. You must write your name on a cup and pee in it. You must read Moby Dick. You must read Moby Dick again. You must perform forty hours of public penance. You must eat your spinach and finish your milk. You must shave. You must do windows. You must name names. You must demonstrate your ability to parallel park. You must share. You must lock the door and leave the key under the mat. You must change diapers. You must sift the dry ingredients and fold them into the wet ingredients. You must learn to work around the pain. You must drop a sack of unmarked bills in the trash bin by the sweetgum tree. You must forget what you just saw. You must produce your passport when asked: now. You must slip into something more uncomfortable. You must revise. You must, for your own protection, put on the blindfold. You must reset your clock. You must let the dog lie at the foot of the bed. You must pay the piper and leave a generous tip; use exact change. You must burn the dark letters. You must bail some water. You must forgive your mother. You must march to the river’s edge. You must stop crying. You must give away your possessions to the poor. You must soak in bleach. You must pledge allegiance. You must summon the energy to clear the last hurdle. You must be very very brave. You must click your heels three times. Wish to be removed from this list, moved from this list, emptied of all words.

from Burning of the Three FiresFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.