eileen tabios

"Ideal Violet"


Asato Ma Sat Gamayo.  Lead me from the unreal to the Real, chants the yogi.


How easy it can be to capitalize a letter when one is not concerned with poetry.


I, for one, rely on ancient manners -- thank you, Dear, for my dropped handkerchief.


Once, a friend of my son flung his leather jacket over a puddle intersecting my path in crossing Bluemner Street.


Yes: all college sophomores are sophomoric, thus, erotic.


You, however, flung down the steel grate to divide us.


I, too, thought I'd lurk forever in the red phone booth looking up at your window.


Yellow light, yellow light -- how many stars have you mugged?


How many stars sought to emulate dark angels by grabbing the tail of a comet dropping into a blind alley?


Don't let me change the subject again.


As I have insisted numerous times, the wind bouncing from the lake-trampoline need not be sub-zero.


I am grateful to anyone who holds open the door.


That I cannot capitalize "real" is not synonymous with polite applause.


Someone has been smart enough to identify "Ideal Violet" as a perennial hybrid with bright green leaves that bear clusters of fringed, 5-petalled blooms whose petals redden during the lemonade days of summer.




 - - -




Epilogue Poems (No. 1)



Behind her shoulders flared asymmetrical wings. One wing couldn't heal perfectly after a break.


She was noble

                          precisely because she was damaged.






- - -







your reticence heightens






I insisted: No

to the many wanting my photograph


Did I know then you existed/ in this world you will call "broken"?


You are destroying "I" completely--

I would not have it any other way


"This is proving typical of his daughter:

reluctant, then pushing them on--

as if she senses she may not pass this way


--The Beholder by Thomas Farber, P. 109


There is no alternative

There is





Still, the locale of your "August break" remains secret


       like a crucifix between breasts lifted by antique whale bones


       bound by red lace


roses bloom against translucent cotton:

                                                     petals lapping air


"cobalt via bed linen"


And Hass laughs at the impossibility of measuring the value of poetry "when it's gotten into the blood.  It becomes autobiography there."


And let us hope never to experience, without bemoaning, Lowell's "tranquilized fifties"


And if I singed your bouquet of small white flowers, this still is not horrid self-mutilation


And it does not matter, or it matters


And ________________________________________


And ________________________________________







- - -





"In my poetry I do not try to find the words to express what I want to say.

In my poetry I try to find ways to express what the words have to say."

-- Carl Andre


A situation

that temporarily defeats

all training,

all previously articulated philosophies


Rosenquist fragments

explode in billboard sizes

even as focus narrows


A hallmark of criticism:

this "deeply felt response"


And so the day begins

with a wish

for color not to equal narrative

since the sky is shivering forth




- - -


"Ideal Violet"

The poem was written to hack a path through a dense forest into the "lemonade days of summer," which is to say, into "crucial bliss."



"Epilogue Poems"

If the epilogue works as a poem, the narrative to which it is an epilogue can become irrelevant to the reader (the referenced narrative does exist....)




This resulted from fragmenting the full-frontal narrative of its first draft.  By writing spaces, I wanted to write the viewer "in"-to the poem.



"Banned and Determined,"

Poem was partly annotated from Scott Rothkopf's article on Gene Swenson, "Banned and Determined," ARTFORUM, Summer 2002)

eileen tabios' latest book is "Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole" (marsh hawk press, 2002).  nowadays, she is arduously exploring the poetics of wine; for lush results, see her blog.  when not drinking her research, she is preparing to promote her next project as publisher: "OPERA: Poems 1981-2003" by barry schwabsky (meritage press, 2003, www.MeritagePress.com).