VERNON WARING : War Baby
ANNE M. HUDSON : Where Wild Tomatoes Grow
MARK PHILLIPS : Only a Few See
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War Baby Where Wild Tomatoes Grow Only a Few See  
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VERNON WARING 
War Baby
In this moment before birth, I am turning, a tiny mass of flesh/bones struggling toward the light, my slippery cord unra v e l i n g, my head a mess of milk white fuzz that pushes down and through, my wrinkled eyes sealed, arms fingers legs rubbery red wet. My mother's family waits outside, a Greek chorus drinking black coffee, relieved that the labor is over. Someone marks the time: one-twenty-three-a-m, and my father, half-drunk, plays the guitar in a nightclub somewhere in South Philly. He does not even know, as his callous young fingers interpret "Stardust," that his first son has been born. Someone gives him the news, buys him a drink, while my mother, beautiful serene sedated, smiling like Rita Hayworth in a pinup picture, cradles me with nervous sighs. She is tended now by hospital people who daydream about loved ones, fearful and faraway, points on a fiery map. But I am just another baby in an era when babies are mass produced like munitions. I was conceived sometime in the dawn of a new year, the result of two militant lovers making up while the rest of the world lusted for the blood of boys born twenty years before... a war baby who brings no peace.
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War Baby Where Wild Tomatoes Grow Only a Few See  
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ANNE M. HUDSON
Where Wild Tomatoes Grow
In Picasso's Guernica the woman's head is thrown back as if her throat is slit, emitting soundless cries of anguish, her baby, a decapitated bundle, crushed to her breast frozen there as if petrified in concrete. Well, that's how it was for me twenty years ago at the bank where Longfellow's legacy slept in a drawer (its own drawer all to itself, by the way) where vivid Wilbur glanced up at me from a notation of cc: below the dictator's initials and mine, of course, in lower case letters following his. I've since read that Robert Lowell's sanity was held hostage, crushed between some of those massive granite walls, although I never did run across his account file. As I said, I've read it was there. How every year at Christmas our "grateful dictators" would give all of us girls doing synchronized laps in the typing pool boxes of chocolate and expensive old-lady perfume in massive black, bronze, and gold bottles: sugar poisoning and stink bombs. Individually and collectively we thanked our benefactors profusely, Always minding our manners. How all the time I was there I could not get out of my head this image of the big crack in the sidewalk at the end of Granada Court in the little white-bread suburb where I grew up mostly made by the invincible life force of the wild tomato plant. The story is told that for centuries the native inhabitants, sometimes inaccurately referred to as "Indians," had grown corn and tomatoes in this sacred valley and made a corn meal porridge for which this famous place is named, Pinole, and despite the best conquering efforts of the galloping guys from Spain the damned tomatoes just refused to quit. The seeds blow around on their own in the air and tenaciously grow where they land. Those vines are strong. They've got to hold up big, fat tomatoes. In my mind's eye, I still see them, huge, globular, and green, climbing up the side of the Moores' house under the kitchen window at the corner of Granada Court and Pinole Valley Road as if the house landed on them, and they refused to lie still under there. So that's how it was with me at the bank a seed blown someplace in the wind poured over with concrete, but I couldn't just die there. I planned to see the sun again. At the bank, poetry could be seen through the cracks in the granite, wavy tendrils of vine reaching for the sky. I know this is so because my heart too is the place where wild tomatoes grow.
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Poetry endangers the established order  of the soul - Plato



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War Baby Where Wild Tomatoes Grow Only a Few See  
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MARK PHILLIPS
Only a Few See
(“What if the Lord's Spirit takes you away as soon as I leave?” 1 Kings 18:12a)
Only a few see so clearly they feel the tangles inside our soul, the web protected by silence or chatter. Only a few who see so clearly never mind the mess or clingy wisps wrapped around their gentle questions. Only a few are unmistaken in what they see while they stare down into the naked soul that shivers every time the questions are asked that feel like thunder. Only a few never attempt to unwind the snarly guesses at ifs and what-ifs, simply seeing our worst at its best and never blinking or turning away. Most of the few shock us with their sight inside our nakedness disastrously disguised, and we creep into the corner with cobwebs for company. A fraction of the few follow us to the shadows where we sip our failure like nectar, and share the drink with us and share the dark with us and share the sharp senses that never stop pricking our unswept souls. Once in our corner they dare our posture like fetuses afraid to be born. We fear their departure and pray They never leave us where they found us alone.
POETRYREPAIRS 12.05: 054
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VERNON WARING : War Baby
ANNE M. HUDSON : Where Wild Tomatoes Grow
MARK PHILLIPS : Only a Few See

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