Issue 9 :: Summer 2007 
Avatar Review

Joyce Nower

On the Roof

1. The Big Picture

The possum brought you here
on the roof with wire cage and lure.

The dung smell from the eaves
over the rotten slats balances

the miniature tornado
of pop from passing cars, a glissando

of notes over a repeated
bass, like a malevolent heartbeat.

The Taj Mahal on the alley,
where the midnight singer lives, gleams white and shiny.

You can even see across
Interstate 5 on the left of the steel-and-glass

tower where King Kong,
a helium balloon, clutches a downtown bank,

to the bridge to the posh island.
From here you'll never reach that silver span -

the bridge of suicides,
and matrons racing to the Hotel Del for teas.

2. Anti-On the Roof

Oh, how clever!
Ever ever so clever!

You on the roof
(showing your athleticism)

a dung smell
(showing your realism)

a hip hop reference
(showing your with-it-ism)

a midnight singer, a song
about King Kong, a realism

based in dung,
a perspective involving capitalism,

damning it, as matrons race
to undesirable places

over silver bridges, over the air
over spaces

The Back Yard

Isn't this
the way of things -

Our yard, its back
turned on urban gaud,
burnished to park.

Its blood rose,
a red Don Juan,
climbing the trellis of sun

like the mind

Above the white gazebo
sprawled with a purple vine

hovers the angel,
really an angle
on imperfection

watching innocence,
its unleafed resonance,
leaf into cycles.

Mallards, tan
and green, drop in
to mate.

A midnight raccoon,
bandito cadger,
raids the garbage.

Barn Owl, a haunt
in pink puffs of flowers,

Flaming up, firethorn
cuts the air,
but we're still here -

life chases its tail.

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