3 Pieces by Tad Richards
Letters to the Muse
He named her Y, after a part of her
he had never seen, that grew
luminous in e-mail, voice mail,
till he began to trace her
in the vein of a maple leaf,
an owl's tufts and beak,
the furrow in the brow of a scholar.
Is it you? he asked her, these
delicate conduits, this rough down,
this clench of wisdom? and she said
O yes, my dearest, O yes,
yes, it is me.
I became a poet to heal
the suppurations of words
after I found that nothing
else needed my ministrations--
not the fragmentation of birds
into pileated, tufted,
sharp-shinned; the bubbling resin
of pine trees, the mud of wasps.
I wanted to be like tar pits,
the silence after lava.
The Ghostly Saints
Across the street from her, a cobwebbed window.
Tilted against it, statuary--faded, except gilt
edges of halos, chipped linings
of robes. Saint Francis? Joseph? Collapsing
into him, the Virgin Mary. Stockpiled
behind them, others. This saint warehouse
isn't used much--she's never seen one
jostled, dusted, straightened, or
taken out, since she's lived here. For a while,
the ghostly saints told her to leave.
Now they think she should stay.
Once, when she was drunk
and dancing to Jay McShann, she
spun around at the Charlie Parker solo
on "Sepia Bounce," and mooned them. Mostly, though,
it's one beer at sunset, and a neighborly toast.
Tad Richards is president and artistic director of Opus 40, an arts organization in Saugerties, NY."
His poems in this issue will be included in his collection, My Night
with the Language Thieves, due out this spring from Ye Olde Font
Shoppe Press in Connecticut.