Catherine Wagner - Three Poems
From “Of Course”: “In the periphery”
In the periphery I was secret gong
hanging the hammock thinking CALL MY MOM
not doing that or any other task ha
HA I'll do my job of
putting head outdoors the garden ringing
unfocused my eyes allowed
moving shadows on the lawn
like baby whales playing 20 feet underwater
to shift their noons
Sun on green leaves brings out their yellow
My eye drags tree to sky, prints violet margin.
From “Of Course”: “Still a little way”
Still a little way from trash-thicket
back of golf course
let's go IN there into buzzing silver haze-lasso
dang it I can never see the crickets.
Squatted by pond to spot a couple of singing disco frogs and a cricket I thought
was very close. I didn't see any of them but did see spider, tiny beige, tie a web between
grasses. The frogs talk, maraca speed slowing to plucked-string sound: “That's -how-it-is;
that's how it—is; is is—that's how it is is is is is—that's how it is. That's how—it is.”
We get the notebook out
like we used to do.
Want to catch a cricket.
From “Of Course”: “Tense patterned”
Tense patterned turmoil of crickets sonic crowd too large to track,
can't see them working, how they respond to one another, how they group.
Pond still. Swallows wheel
reflected in trees and sky below
Six Canada geese
“Crazy in Love”
from the PA at golf course swimming pool near road.
Built with public funds in 1934 by the WPA and the Kiwanis Club
it was once the city pool. A whites-only clause appeared in the deed.
In 1949, members of the Oxford, Ohio NAACP sued for desegregation.
When the NAACP won, the city allowed the pool deed to “revert”
to the private Golf Club. The same year,
the course incorporated as a whites-only Country Club.
The city didn’t build the new public pool (over on Fairfield)
till 1974. Chorus/refrain.
blows in triangles
folds and reappears
twice with beak like skimmed stone flying upwards.
The algae’s disappearing, burning off.
Now by pond, in shady spot in tall grass behind cattails
I fling some snot into the grass.
Looks like insect eggs stuck on a grass leaf.
Fuck off work,
the grass blows seeds
in sun and breeze.
Some algae has detached from the edge of the pond
and floats in little islands.
Fell asleep on a rock
Now it's raining a bit
So I will walk
The clicka frogs are chorusing
What are they communicating
Think like a frog
But man’s calling his dog—"Mindy!"
He sounds impatient—I would not want
to go back to him either.
Can't see well with left contact
And I do not have a project
stepping slowly on brown earth between
blurred irregular ranks of green
virginia creeper poison ivy
begin their ululant rotating pauses
I get married to this
shimmer shaketting inside itself coalesces
into pulsing foreground and background
Let me see you crickets!
The chorus has swollen—not yet a roar
I can never see them
“…I find you and hold you down (Miss Sing Sing)”
—From “Hold Up.” While Beyonce, here, seems to be taking a power stance, a dom stance, she confesses parenthetically that her monogamous demands mean that she is herself a prison: Miss Sing-Sing. Her admission does not imply that Jay-Z is not an asshole; nevertheless, she’s “miss-Sing” him. Not to be outdone, she, too, is going missing. She knows he’s going to miss her more. That’s how she’ll hold him down.
I haven't seen any people since
I went off course. The swallows
twittering now, and a red-winged
blackbird other side of pond calls
(twerpy buzzsaw). Geese.
Ground crickets, handsome trigs.
liquid loose. A rabbit.
A fawn switching its tail, neck
glowing in sun.
Starlings gathering in one of the
unleaved trees, a dead
ash tree. Fuck you
emerald ash borer.
Ash leaflets repeated themselves
lined up, moving back and forth,
" " " " —they rolled their r's
and bristled. That’s what they used to do.
Repeat, bristle. Ash.