Sunday, May 30, 2010


A plume should be a thing lovely and light
dancing violet as it's fanned
at the flanks of the blue
who hangs limberly
to solicit a mate

It should curl
blinding white at the back
of the puffy Samoyed
prancing fancy to please a master
who also preens on the oval
of a sawdust track

It should flop
red at the top of gold-painted tin
helmet awry on the head
of an aspiring actor
who plays centurion for tips
outside a mobbed Colosseum

It should spray
as clear and cooling drops out
the copper mouth of a grass-snake
green hose uncoiled by
the sneaky dad who tickles
giggles from sweaty kids

It should flutter
gray at the tail end of a quill
bouncing to the frenzied
jottings of an anachronistic
frump who takes the pain to outfit
himself far too seriously

A plume should not be a thing of plague
riding currents kissed by taint-
sweet crude blasted from a wound
gouged in the crust
of a frigid deep to feed
our shallow lust for eases

It shouldn't choke

It shouldn't muck

It shouldn't tar

It can't help
poisoning that last pretense
we cared about anything,
be it plumed or not, but
the finality of
a bottom line


Francis Scudellari said...

This is pretty obviously an attempt to address the gulf oil spill, which has now officially become the largest in US history.

Megan Duffy said...

Wow. I love the turn the poem makes as it draws to a close. Full of gorgeous, funny and pained images. All wonderful, but this is my favorite:

"It should spray
as clear and cooling drops out
the copper mouth of a grass-snake
green hose uncoiled by
the sneaky dad who tickles
giggles from sweaty kids"

this is so crystal clear and strong. Great work.

Peter Greene said...

Oo, I like it. I am immediately given to wondering how the squid are handling the problem.

You guys know about the huge cities of our eight-armed brethren...right?

Also for thought: What eats oil? Other than amphibious autos.

There will probably be more of it soon, whatever it is.

Thanks, Francis - for the poem and the plume of thoughts that follow from it.


Jenny said...

A suggestive touch and also a very clear tone. Humor is serious business, as I always say. Great work!

bearskin rug said...

i thought what you wrote was quite sensual...but then i read your comment on it...i think i am going to go with my first thought:)

Ande said...

It sounds beautiful, but awful stuff sometimes is. I appreciate your humor.

Hmm, John Lennon is on accuradio now. I think it’s Chicago based like many other good things.

J. D. Mackenzie said...

Like this a lot, it weaves in and out of literal and figurative, nails the gulf disaster, and uses beautiful language. So well written and worth several reads.

Francis Scudellari said...

@Megan That was my favorite of the "plumes" too, though I'm also very partial to birds-of-paradise.

@Old333 I don't know much about squid populations, but I hope they aren't damaged by this. A friend was telling me that he heard about some micro-organisms that feed on the oil. Unfortunately there will be more of it than they could ever consume.

@Jenny I'm a firm believer in the expression "you have to laugh to keep from crying"

@Nikki Sensual sounds good to me :)

@Ande Having lived here so long now, I've probably started to take it's benefits for granted.

@JD Thanks. I've been obsessing over the spill, as I'm sure many have.

Anonymous said...

No, a plume should not be a plague and it should definitely not kill. I appreciate the rhythm of this poem, how it feels when I read it.

Oh, I’m listening to the Who btw :)

human being said...

it should bleed words
that feed the world...

very very impressive...

and see Francis?!
about your comments on your works... ah!

NIKKI is almost saying the same thing i told you on your blog just a few minutes ago...

your works go just much more beyond your initial thoughts...

and this is true poetry... archetypal...
the poet dreams collectively...


Francis Scudellari said...

@PO You can't go wrong with the Who :)

@hb It's a delicate balance because to some degree you want to communicate a specific meaning, but you also want to leave enough ambiguity for the reader to impart their own meanings.