2 Poems — Terry Savoie

Her Left Knee, His Cerebral Hemorrhage

Now comes an apoplectic bongo beat,
      this rumbling, honey-
buzzing bee-burning beneath sunken & blued
      cheeks, his chest heaving
as he gurgles & gargles & gags, Is this heaven?
      He’s become a wizen-faced, Roman-nosed hippie
who’s hitch- (once upon his prime) hiked the entire length of the continent –
      Minneapolis to Manhattan to LA – back & forth & back again,
looking at long last for the lost & forgotten acre of land
      he once knew as his “home sweet home.”
Maybe, he sighs, maybe that’s the promised land,
      or so he thinks as he lists sideways

against the airplane’s starboard window to see
      morning crack open, its crusted, yellow eyelid barely
widening along the horizon, those bright, pebbly lights shining
      in the far, far below, a heaven-sent view
but for that mud-swilled swath running
      down along the continent’s spine, the serpentine
Mississippi separating a nation length-wise, cutting sheaves
      from water towers, palms from ice-castles, minds from minefields,
Messrs. Pilot from Co-Pilot as the cockpit duo confer over
      when & where their plane might kiss this
sweet earth & precisely how anyone would ever be
      able to leave all this heaven so far behind.

Our hero’s become just another ex-hippie who’s fallen
      for the enchantment of his own too-sweet, duty-free cologne
as well as the Indian steward’s superbly enunciated British English
      pronunciation thirty-two thousand feet above
the very heart of America
      & this tender, unexpected vision as he leans back
to fall into the center aisle – the stewardess turning to walk away
      as she cradles a stack of dog-eared copies of Time in her lithe arms.
From his vantage point on the aisle floor, he spots her exposed, heart-stopping,
      left knee, its backside, that tremblingly innocent & dimpled
valley as he whispers to no one in particular, “O Paradise, let this be.”


The Multiplicity of Possibilities in the New World Envisioned

What echoes in Jonathan Edwards
      as he meditates on
all his surrounding while living
      in NYC,1722, a metropolis of seven,
perhaps eight thousand Christian souls?
      Was he dousing his bedeviling thoughts
while making of the place a safe harbor,
      ruminating on the rabble in the streets
below his boarding house window,
      such gross & frantic teeming of humanity?

Might he be only imagining
      what Icarus could’ve seen in
that mystical gewgaw
      which was to become Bruegel’s
phantasmagoria as the boy
      plunged headlong into the frigid, unflappable
sea after a brief glimpse of what was to be-
      come those faraway colonies
seen from such a distance & at such a dizzying height?

Here, now, is the raw & awe-struck Reverend
      Mr. Edwards at the very onset of his “awakening”
while below him he conjures the heathenish
      multiplicities available in this New World,
what Icarus envisioned far off as he fell
      after having melted his father’s wax wings,
the giant feathers
      peeling off as the boy flies too close,
much too close, then tumbles
      back into what Edwards imagines
would soon be the rabble & not any New Jerusalem
      now sinking into the depths of perdition.


Terry Savoie has published more than three hundred and fifty poems in the past three decades in journals such as APR, Ploughshares, Birmingham Poetry Review, Poetry, The Iowa Review, and Black Warrior Review and in eight anthologies. His manuscript Reading Sunday recently won the Bright Hills Competition and will be published later this year.