Sheila E. Murphy

Four Poems


Expertise

She will recite for you her various
Accomplishments, experience, and wisdom.
There is nothing left to say
Except these three in braids.
If most of us learn by doing,
She lends proof by saying
And repeating all of what is only partly
New to us.

I love the way she weaves the phrases I've just spoken
Into what she soon declares.
It is my only chance
Into her spiel, she crafts the way a salesman
Freshens, let's say, an enthusiastic replay
For an audience with new fatigue
Lacing its breath.

She is the star of every tale.
If I accept this she will always
Love me, her impression of me
Forcefully includes my unconditional
Approval, which in less wry moments than this one
May be in fact enthusiastic.

We have just introduced her to a friend
Who already values her opinion,
Which is equivalent to stroking an already blazing fire
Of information.

I have other things to think about:
My pens, my paper, my hot, hot tea,
My unflagging love of my love.
I allow my mind to wander where no repartee
Beyond my chiming in occasionally
And having it consistently replayed
Is asked.

She is forever our pet expert whom we love
For reasons other than her expertise,
But she appears to be acquiring more to tell
Perhaps for fear of having our affection
Drift and wane.

We could catalogue her stories, code them,
For by now they are becoming old friends,
As she has, and with this decided,
The life of the attachment lives on
At intervals we can predict
While holding out the possibility
Of any theory of surprise.


I used to be in love with not yet
Functional abundance, used to
Speak to strangers on the bus,
I used to mutter from my books

Look into matte
Patina making way
Into the forenoon of careen-with-me-
Along-the-muscles-of-the-shoulders

Where a little group decides
Who will earn quality of notice
We are live from where they are
A drinking glass against the wrong side of their room

Still early in our history
That no one owns, where claims are placed,
Where sprinkler touches during summer
When the harvest starts to show


Mainly I want to olive tree my way into
Your aria, if only to imagine
Given things, torrential implication of incinerate
Declensions mimicking a western civ approach

To dissonance. Can you imagine how immaculate
La Traviata might have sounded to the off-
Putting percussion in a wave of some oracular
Pronouncement that a thing cannot be good

Enough? You have to breathe
Into the mike. You must furnish yourself
Plenty tantrum space and thoughts of Giverny,
So when the die-cut

Praxis loiters, it is time to gift
A horse. There is no smother room
In keeping with duplicitous perspective.
Now equals never in the morgue.


Modesty is not insightful. My predecessor
Would compliment the ivy. All that
Sentiment is sediment entirely
Covetous. I think, therefore,

Refraction includes pondering.
The radio is full of what I learn
Before I listen, that I fill
A generously vacant shelf space

With inductive logic fit for craft
By royalty recently voted out of
Functionality. Life forms placement.
Something to say before

Something to do, then something
To record. If all I do all day is
Gather, there are patiences that pressure
Leaning on their histories of making more.

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